Winter Youth Retreat in Shackford Hall

Youth Ministry

Near Asheville, Waynesville and Maggie Valley, Lake Junaluska offers youth retreats full of fun, fellowship and spiritual growth

Lake Junaluska is committed to connecting youth to Christ through meaningful ministry, recreation and education. Youth groups that participate in Lake Junaluska’s retreats enjoy not only the on-site programming but also opportunities for mission work and mountain adventures from skiing to whitewater rafting.

Groups choose their accommodations and gather for meals at York Dining Commons, which offers a lakeside deck perfect for fellowship. Registration is currently open for our Winter Youth Retreats and Spring Confirmation Retreat, and we also welcome youth groups to Lake Junaluska who wish to plan their own retreats!

Winter Youth Retreat youth listen to the speaker
Four youth paddleboarders at Lake Junaluska

Summer Youth Retreats

Make memories and have fun as a youth group as you grow closer to God and each other this summer at Lake Junaluska.

Check out our summer retreat planning guide (pdf) and plan your summer youth group retreat at the Lake. Enjoy meaningful moments and time for recreation and fun! Just steps from Shackford Hall is volleyball, cornhole, knockout (basketball), Gaga ball, 9 Square in the Air, the Walking Trail and the lakeside pool. Your group can also make reservations to rent paddleboards, kayaks or canoes, or add on a trip to enjoy rafting, ziplining or a high-ropes adventure course.

Does your youth group want to spend time in service? Ask us about taking part in such projects as building ramps for people who have mobility challenges, completing critical landscaping tasks, and assisting food kitchens, food pantries and organizations that provide clothing, shoes and other items for people in need.

Want to receive email updates about youth ministry programs at Lake Junaluska? Subscribe to our email newsletter.


We are excited to share that M28 Camps will be hosting summer youth camps at Lake Junaluska! M28 is a summer youth camp experience based around Matthew 28, focused on teaching discipleship and missions through the camp environment.

Learn more and register on the M28 Camps website.

M28 Camps youth take part in a Walk to the Cross.
Friends downhill snowskiing pause for a photograph

Winter Youth RetreatsWinter Retreats

Registration Open for 2023-24 Winter Youth Retreats!

Bring your youth group to the mountains this winter! We offer Winter Youth Retreat packages that include lodging and meals at Lake Junaluska with opportunities to add on skiing/snowboarding (also known as the Ski Lake Junaluska package); mission work projects; and, of course, our Lake Junaluska programs with group games, live music, guest speakers and energized worship for youth groups.

With our winter youth retreat packages, you can choose your own retreat dates! If your group would like to participate in Lake Junaluska’s programs and worship services for youth groups, be sure to add the youth retreat program to your package and select one of the five weekends that our program will be offered. Learn more about retreat add-ons and rates below, see photos, view accommodations, and subscribe to youth ministry email updates. Then, register online by completing a 2023-24 Winter Youth Retreat Registration Form! If you have any questions, contact us.

Ski Lake Junaluska

Group ski packages include skiing or snowboarding at Cataloochee Ski Area, lodging at Lake Junaluska, and breakfast on the first full day through breakfast on your day of departure. Skiing includes your ski/snowboard rental, boot rental and lift ticket. Pick the dates that work for your youth group.

Mission Work Projects

Lake Junaluska coordinates mission work projects with nonprofit organizations in our community on Saturdays and Sundays during retreat weekends for interested youth groups.

Lake Junaluska Encounter Winter Youth Retreat Programs

Lake Junaluska Youth Programs will offer lively programs and energized worship services for youth groups on five winter weekends in 2023-24. Join fellow youth groups for games, live music, a guest speaker and energized worship. The retreat program schedule features evening programs for 3-night retreats and evening programs plus a Sunday morning program for 2-night retreats.  See our retreat program dates below and on the online registration forms.

Asheville Treetops Adventure Park (Booked Separately)

Groups can book a day trip directly with The Adventure Center of Asheville (5 minutes from downtown Asheville and approximately 30 minutes from Lake Junaluska) to enjoy during their Lake Junaluska Winter Youth Retreat. The Asheville Treetops Adventure Park is the largest Western North Carolina aerial challenge course in the trees with 77 unique climbing, rolling, and swinging elements in a wooded park with smart clips. There are multiple levels to choose from which create a fun team bonding activity for all ages and athletic abilities (weight limit of 265 pounds). Read more about youth group aerial course adventures (PDF), and contact group sales for discounted group rates at 828-450-3400 or [email protected].


Lake Junaluska’s Winter Youth Retreat Packages all include lodging and meals at Lake Junaluska with the opportunity to add on day activities and evening programming. Rates vary based on the lodging and meal options and add-ons your group selects. To learn more, see our 2023-24 Winter Youth Retreat Package Rate Planning Sheet (PDF).

2023-24 Winter Retreat Weekends with Youth Programs & Worship Services

Youth participate in a Winter Youth Retreat at Lake Junaluska
Dec. 30, 2023-Jan. 2, 2024

Ring in the New Year as one body of Christ at a three-night Winter Youth Retreat at Lake Junaluska.

Youth take part in a mission project during a Winter Youth Retreat at Lake Junaluska
Jan. 12-15, 2024

At our three-night retreat Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, there’s time to add on skiing and snowboarding as well as a mission project.

Youth have fun at a Lake Junaluska Winter Youth Retreat
Jan. 19-21, 2024

Renew and re-energize together at a two-night Winter Youth Retreat.

Winter Youth Retreat
Jan. 26-28, 2024

Explore the mountains and make memories as a youth group during a two-night Winter Youth Retreat.

Winter Youth Retreat - Ski
Feb. 16-19, 2024

Join us for three nights of programming and energized worship during the Presidents Day holiday weekend.

Expand What are your COVID-19 health and safety protocols? contentCollapse What are your COVID-19 health and safety protocols? contentWhat are your COVID-19 health and safety protocols?

Lake Junaluska has been taking extensive measures based on guidance from the CDC to ensure safe and healthy stays at all of our lodging facilities. Please see our current health and safety protocols for more information on how all of the Lake Junaluska staff is maintaining a high standard of sanitation in all Lake Junaluska facilities.

Expand Are snowboard rentals included in the ski package? contentCollapse Are snowboard rentals included in the ski package? contentAre snowboard rentals included in the ski package?

Yes. The ski package includes either a set of skis or a snowboard, fitted boots, and your lift ticket. Each person can choose whether they would like to ski or snowboard. Helmets can be rented for an additional fee. See our 2022-23 Winter Youth Retreat Rate Planning Sheet to learn more.

Expand Does Lake Junaluska provide transportation to Cataloochee, mission sites or any off-site destination? contentCollapse Does Lake Junaluska provide transportation to Cataloochee, mission sites or any off-site destination? contentDoes Lake Junaluska provide transportation to Cataloochee, mission sites or any off-site destination?

No. Groups are responsible for off-site transportation.

Expand Are there date restrictions for my group to ski through Lake Junaluska? contentCollapse Are there date restrictions for my group to ski through Lake Junaluska? contentAre there date restrictions for my group to ski through Lake Junaluska?

No. Groups are encouraged to come on the dates that work best for you! We do invite you to come to Lake Junaluska during one of our programmed event with a speaker and band, and join us in worship!

Expand What are the mission work projects? contentCollapse What are the mission work projects? contentWhat are the mission work projects?

Lake Junaluska will be partnering with local organizations to serve our neighbors here in Haywood and Jackson counties.

Scenic photo of yellow flowers growing by the shore of Lake Junaluska

Confirmation Retreat

Lake Junaluska will host a Confirmation Retreat for youth groups March 31, 2023-April 3, 2023.

The spring retreat will feature dynamic and interactive worship and sessions studying the Confirmation vows youth will be asked to give – prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. The retreat will include a session on our connectional church – the blessings of us being connected to each other, how we are connected, why our diversity is important and what makes your congregation unique. The retreat will offer activities for your group to bond and connect, as well as recognize the unique qualities and calling of your congregation in the midst of connection.

Retired Bishop Charlene Payne Kammerer will bring an Opening Welcome and Invocation, and our seminar speaker will be the Rev. Andy Lambert.  Abbye West Pates will lead music.

Lake Junaluska’s Spring Confirmation Retreat Packages all include lodging and meals at Lake Junaluska. Rates vary based on the lodging and meal options your group selects, and whether you add on a mission project. To learn more or register, visit the online registration form. For details, download the 2023 Confirmation Retreat package rate planning sheet (PDF).

Want to receive email updates when more details are available and registration opens? Subscribe to our youth ministry e-newsletter.

Bishop Charlene Payne Kammerer
Bishop Charlene Payne Kammerer

Bishop Charlene Payne Kammerer is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 1996- 2012. Her service in the church has included equal years in parish ministries and connectional ministries. Learn more.

Rev. Andy Lambert
Rev. Andy Lambert

Known as “the funniest man in youth ministry,” the Rev. Andy Lambert has proclaimed the Gospel at comedy clubs, churches and colleges, traveling throughout the United States, Mexico, Wales and England. Learn more

Abbye West Pates
Abbye West Pates

A worship leader from Memphis, Tennessee, Abbye West Pates spent her summers at Lake Junaluska with her youth group.  She’s excited to be returning to lead others in worship with her husband, Jeff. Learn more

Youth Group Lodging

Lodging popular with youth groups at Lake Junaluska includes Mountainview, Lake Junaluska Apartments and Hillside Lodge. All are close to Shackford Hall, York Dining Commons and Lake Junaluska’s pool and recreation areas.