Registration Now Open for Winter Youth Retreats at Lake Junaluska

August 30, 2017

Lake Junaluska, N.C. - Registration is open for Lake Junaluska’s Winter Youth Retreats. From December to February the lake will host five program weekends for middle school and high school youth groups.

This winter marks the first year of a new format for the youth group retreats, as participants will choose their own daytime activity. In the past, the youth events have focused on ski, but this year groups can choose to zipline, do mission work or ski.

“My hope is that as we ski, zipline or serve together, youth will connect the exhilaration of these activities with the heart-pounding, life-changing realization that they are critical players in the continuing story of God,” said Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska.

The theme for this year’s winter events, “Embrace Winter. Embrace the Word.,” was inspired by Isaiah 55:10-11—

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven ... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth."

Johnson said she was inspired by this passage from Isaiah because it shows us how God uses winter as an active time of preparing the Earth for a great harvest.

“We tend to think about winter as a passive season when the best we can do is hunker down and get through it,” Johnson said. “But scripture urges us to welcome winter as a time when God drenches us in the Word and prepares us to do all the things we’re called us to do. What better place to embrace both winter and the word than Lake Junaluska?”

The speakers and bands for the Winter Youth Retreats will come from across the Southeast and include Lake Junaluska favorites like musicians Jimmy Atkins and Abbye West Pates and returning speakers like Celia Whitler and Eddie Willis, who runs a summer youth camp called M28 at Lake Junaluska.

Notable new speakers include Chris Sasser, a seasoned family ministries pastor and a lead consultant with Ministry Architects, an organization that helps build sustainable, deep-impact youth ministries across 23 Christian denominations. Another first-timer, Jeremy Steele, will speak during the New Year’s Eve event. He is a Next Generation pastor and senior editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry.

The three-night events on New Year’s Eve weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and Presidents Day weekend include special entertainment such as a New Year’s Eve dance party, a comedian and an illusionist. More information about speakers, bands and entertainers is available online at Groups that register before October 4 will receive free hats for their youth groups. To register, call 800-222-4930 or visit

Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events, visit  

Lake Junaluska Winter Youth Retreats Schedule:
  • December 29 – January 1: Jeremy Steele (Speaker) and Jimmy Atkins (Worship Band).
  • January 12 – 15: Celia Whitler (Speaker and Worship Band). Featuring comedian John Felts.
  • January 26 – 28: Cecilia Tucker (Speaker) and The Advice (Worship Band).
  • February 2 – 4: Chris Sasser (Speaker) and The Advice (Worship Band).
  • February 16 – 19: Eddie Willis (Speaker) and Abbye West Pates (Worship Band). Featuring illusionist Joshua Lozoff.