Dear Parents,

We are so excited that your student(s) will be joining us on this year’s Winter Retreat. We truly believe in these retreats and the life change that we have seen happen in them. In this year’s retreat, we will be talking about the promises and names of God, and how to rest in those through the ups and downs of life. Students will also be given the opportunity to connect with their small group in a more personal dialogue about each session. There has been lots of time, energy and prayer put into this weekend by many. We could not be more expectant to see the Lord move in these next couple of days.


The retreat will be from Friday, January 13- Monday, January 16 at Awanita River Valley in Marietta, South Carolina. We will all be riding together in two school buses with the intent to leave by 6 PM. We are asking all students to be at Renovation Simpsonville and check in no later than 5:15 PM. Please keep in mind we will need to pack the bus before heading out so being on time is essential for us to get on the road in time.


  • Bible and journal (Please bring a physical Bible and not an app)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Personal spending money (We will be stopping for dinner Thursday on the way up)
  • Pillow
  • Extra blanket
  • Set of twin sheets
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Water bottle
  • Shower shoes
  • Hiking boots/comfortable walking shoes (For optional hike)
  • Personal toiletry items (deodorant, hair brush, toothbrush, shampoo, body wash etc.)
  • Towel
  • Clothes for 4 days
  • Guys - salty snack to share
  • Girls - sweet snack to share


Proper clothing is essential for students to be able to enjoy their time out. Please keep in mind that we are in the mountains during winter, which means it is likely going to be in the 30-40s. Check the weather before packing to ensure you are packing proper clothing. We will be doing activities such as ropes courses, hikes, etc., so students should pack accordingly. Dress should be modest and reflect Christ at all times. While we want you to have the freedom to dress as you wish, we provide these guidelines to make sure the focus is on Christ, not on attire. If you are packing for the trip and question an outfit, it is probably not appropriate. We say, “When in doubt, leave it out!” Also, if a chaperone finds your clothing inappropriate or going against our dress code, their decision is not to be challenged.

  • No strapless tops or dresses allowed unless you have a cardigan covering the shoulders.
  • No short shorts or tight, revealing tops, or crop tops! You must be able to wear a bra with ALL outfits- NO EXCEPTIONS. The bra/bra straps must not show with the top. Therefore, if you are unable to wear a bra without it showing, the outfit will not be appropriate.
  • No articles of clothing or apparel with inappropriate statements or images.
  • Pants, shorts, and shirts should be worn at the appropriate height, and undergarments should not be shown.
  • We will be in the mountains in January….it will be cold. Plan to bring layers, jackets, and shoes depending upon the weather conditions. We will be outside for several events and recommend bringing a warm hat and gloves.`
  • Please bring clothes and shoes appropriate for climbing, running and physical activity.


Again, check-in will be at Renovation Simpsonville starting at 5:00 PM. Any medications, forms, or remaining payments will be done at check-in. We ask that a parent comes with the student for check-in. We will be handing out information for parents to have while we are away. If your student takes medication please bring it bagged and label it to be given to the leader at check-in.



As mentioned above we will be at Awanita River Valley Retreat Center. For lodging, students will be rooming with their small group and small group leaders. Every student will have a bed for themselves. Girls and guys will NOT be allowed into each other's room. There is a common area in the center of the building for all students to hang out during the retreat.


Each student will have an assigned small group during the week that will help facilitate discussion, reflection, and application. Small groups will meet for about 30 minutes each night immediately after the service and are divided by grade and gender.


While at the retreat, the main goals are to first have students engage and connect with the Lord and secondly to connect with others and form godly relationships. We live in a busy world that often robs us of the ability to accomplish both of those goals. We believe the best way to do so is to free students from any distractions. Therefore, we will be collecting cell phones during most of the retreat. During Winter Retreat we will allow students to have their phones during afternoon free time from 6:00-7:15 PM. Outside of those times, we will take up students’ phones in order to encourage connection with one another and to remove any sort of distractions from being able to truly seek after God, and quiet our hearts and minds throughout the weekend.


In the case of an emergency, you can call Gabe’s cell phone directly - (864) 906-8972. Also, you will be given your student’s chaperone’s phone number on the day that we leave. If you do need to get in touch with a leader we ask that you text rather than call. This will allow leaders to respond quickly as possible.


We hope to never have students involved in any serious issues or violations. However, in the event of a serious violation or problem, the student will be immediately dismissed from the retreat. Parents will be asked to come and pick up their students.

We are so excited and expectant for this weekend. We ask that you join us in prayer as we continue praying for the students and leaders this weekend.

Gabe Pecoraro,

Pastor of Students | (864)-906-8972