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A Weekend Retreat for High School Youth by High School Youth

What is a SEARCH Retreat?

In October of 1962, a priest and a group of Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) members were having a discussion following a CYO meeting in St. Gregory’s Parish Hall in San Mateo, California. The priest leaned back in his chair after cataloging all the problems inherent in conducting a spiritual retreat for teenagers and said, “It’s too bad young people can’t give the retreats.”

Monsignor Peter Armstrong, Director of the Division of Youth Activities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said, “I no more got the words out and Pentecost happened. We sat looking at each other for a moment and a 17-year-old teenager, Michael Nevin, finally asked, ‘Why not?” and we went to work on it. After an all-night session we developed the basic outline of what has become the SEARCH for Christian Maturity.

For the past fifty years and more than 125 retreats, SEARCH has assisted the spiritual journey of thousands of teenagers in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  The main focus of this program is to motivate, develop & strengthen your teens’ personal relationship with Christ, help others to do likewise and encourage them to be involved in their parish.  SEARCH is a retreat “for teens, by teens”.  Each SEARCH weekend, 25 – 30 youth volunteers, assisted by adults, give of themselves to assist a new group of “searchers” to grow in self-confidence, closer to Christ, and in Christian maturity.

How does the SEARCH Retreat work?

The structure of the SEARCH retreat is as follows:  There are 4 major categories of “Searchers”: New Searchers, Team Searchers, Youth Directors and Adult Chaperones.  A New Searcher is a current high school age teen who has never been on any Search retreats before.  A Team Searcher is a current high school age teen who has been on at least one Search retreat, and who is now part of the planning team for the next Search retreat.  There are 2 Youth Director, and they are current high school age teen, who has applied and been selected to lead the Search Retreat.  Finally, an Adult Chaperone, functions as a chaperone for the weekend and helps supervise and cooks for the weekend.

Once a teen has gone on one search, he/she is unable to become a “New Searcher” again, but they are encouraged to apply and come back to be part of the “Team”.  Team applications are due about 4 months before the retreat.  Applications are necessary because the teens lead the talks, activities, and small groups.  Filling out the application does not guarantee that teen a spot on the team, as the Youth Directors, in conjunction with the Retreat Coordinators (Archdiocesan Youth Director and his team), work to assign jobs and responsibilities to the applicants.

The retreat weekend is a combination of talks, discussions, skits, games, fellowship, and quiet time to pray developed to help bring your teen into a stronger relationship with God, their church, and themselves. Sessions focus on developing self-confidence, building community, and growing in one’s faith and relationship with Christ. The SEARCH retreats are both for and lead by teenagers. A team of around 25 amazing teenagers work hard to prepare each weekend and are supported by generous adults who give up their time to help make this retreat possible. Space is limited so apply early. We hope to see your teen at an upcoming SEARCH.



March 13 – 15, 2015

Please arrive at the retreat by 7:30

Woodland Christian Camp



Youth Directors for Search 130

Marvin Thompson & Emily Andrews

Marvin Thompson & Emily Andrews



 New Searcher Application Click here for Parent Consent Form

New Searcher Application: Until February 15, 2015 – Retreat Cost $80   ·   After February 16 – Retreat Cost $100
EXTENDED Deadline for New Searcher Application: March 6, 2015 – by 10am




Team Application: Until December 7, 2014 – Retreat Cost $70   ·   After December 8 – Retreat Cost $100
Deadline for Team Application: December 22, 2014




No Cost for adult
Deadline for Adult Application: December 22, 2014


Packing List

Commit To Prayer

While the Searchers are on the retreat, we want to let them know that someone is praying for them the whole time while they are on the retreat.  Please ask your family and friends to sign up to pray for an hour for them.


Date: September 25 – 27, 2015
Location: Camp Westminster

Youth Director Application Information

Deadline for YD Application: February 13, 2015


Do you need to send a quick note to the Search Directors?  Fill out the form below.

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