Winter Meltdown is an action-packed, spiritually challenging,
all‑inclusive weekend adventure for your youth group!
Winter Youth Retreat
Finding the right winter retreat experience for your student ministry can be a
challenge— one that is exciting, relevant, and engaging with its activities
AND deeply impactful and spiritually challenging to today's teens. At RVR, we know
the crucial gap youth leaders stand in and are thrilled to come along side of you
in providing your middle and high school students with a weekend experience they
Once you have called and registered, please complete the Youth Leader Registration Packet
and send it to us with your deposit to confirm.
Winter Meltdown Activities & Things To Do
Choices abound for students when it comes to activities at Winter Meltdown.
Saturday afternoon provides the opportunity to choose between several of RVR's
exciting and best known activities: take a trail ride on horseback
through our 500+ acres, color the snow (and your opponent) in an exciting game of
paintball, race your friends down our 1500’ Triple zipline
(the longest on the east coast), or try your hand at Archery Tag!.
You can also jump in on a game of football, try stay on your feet
playing broomball on our outdoor ice rink, or go Snow Tubing
when the weather is just right!
There’s also tons to do inside. Play team sports like basketball
or dodgeball in our gym, or challenge your friends to a game of ping-pong, fooseball,
carpetball, or air hockey in our game room. More the chill type?
No problem, hang out by the fire in the Wagon Wheel snack shop or
browse the Tradin' Post camp store for some new swag.
Meals, lodging, activities, game room, worship band, speaker, and more—
Winter Meltdown is your complete retreat! Learn more about our
Retreat Facilities here.
Winter Meltdown is your time to challenge yourself, go crazy and have fun, or
just relax around a fire and make new friends. Our goal is to provide a place
free from the distractions of everyday life— a winter youth retreat where
students and leaders can focus on God and build meaningful relationships with
Every weekend features powerful music with a different band*
that's excited to engage your students!
Weekend #1 | March January 5th-7th
Middle & High Schoolers
Justin has served the church as a youth pastor for over a decade, but he
has been preaching since he was 14 years old. He loves creative storytelling,
writing, and connecting teens to life in God’s Kingdom. Originally from Detroit,
he earned a degree in Bible and Theology from North Central University and a
Masters of Divinity from Regent University. He currently serves a growing
youth ministry in the Dulles Area of Virginia, where he lives with his wife
and 3 ridiculously cute children. Any chance he can, he retreats to the woods
to hunt, shoot, camp, and hike.
Weekend #2 | January 12th-14th
John is a Maryland native and has worked in Christian ministry for
nearly 20 years. He and his wife Jolene have five active kids and are very
involved in the local sports community...that and he's a HUGE Ravens fan.
John is an ordained minister and currently serves as River Valley Ranch's
Director of Programming. He has a tremendous heart for youth culture and
engaging kids with the life changing truths of God's word.
Weekend #3 | January 19th-21st
Middle & High Schoolers
Speaker bio coming soon!
Weekend #4 | January 26th-28th
Rich was born into a godly ministry home, gave his life to Christ
as a young man, and graduated from college with a degree in youth ministries.
He and his wife Janet have three adult children (Rich III, Jenna, and Ryan)
and have served together in churches in the Midwest and the Seattle area.
In 2003, Rich transitioned from serving as Pastor of Student Ministries to an
Associate Professor position at Liberty University, where he mentors, equips,
and teaches the next generation of youth ministry leaders. He has developed a
number of youth ministry courses and co-authored “Student Ministry Essentials”
(Moody Press). Rich is passionate about coffee, baseball, landscaping, and anything
historical, but most of all, he loves to teach God’s Word and encourage the church to
fulfill the Great Commission.
Weekend #5 | February 2nd-4th
George Hopkins was born and raised in Baltimore. He grew up in Cherry
Hill, attending Poly High School and then Morgan State as a student-athlete.
While playing football at Morgan State, George got involved with the
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and worked full-time with them
for three years in Baltimore City after graduating. He then served as a
pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Timonium for six years before starting
a church in Southwest Baltimore in 2014. He is now the Lead Pastor of
Gallery Church SoWeBo and volunteers
with various organizations that help build the city of Baltimore. George
lives in Baltimore with his wife Stefanie and three children:
Sofia, Shiloh, and Gabriel.
Weekend #6 | February 9th-11th
Middle & High Schoolers
Luke Casagrande has been working in full time pastoral ministry
with students, families, and young adults since 2009. Before he heard
the clear call of the Lord on his life Luke was involved in a lifestyle
that was completely spiraling out of control. Since experiencing the
Grace of God in and through his life Luke has given himself fully to
the call of vocational ministry. His life experiences have given him
the ability to connect with people in a very genuine and enthusiastic
way making him an effective voice for Jesus Christ among this
generation. He and his family live in Timonium Md, just North of
Baltimore City, and he is the Student Ministries and Young Adults
Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church, Timonium.
Weekend #7 | February 16th-18th
Rob has served in several youth and preaching positions and has a
deep commitment and adoration of the local Church and discipleship.
He attended seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and pastored
Lake Shore Baptist Church in Chicago for 5 years, before finishing his
Masters at Shepherds Theological Seminary in North Carolina. Now a
Theology & Rhetoric teacher at Cary Christian School, where he serves
as Dean of House, Rob lives with his wife and 3 kids and has an active blog at
Weekend #8 | February 23rd-25th
Nate Garrett is an evangelist with a passion for Making Disciples who
Make Disciples who Make Disciples. Nate attended Liberty University where
he majored in Biblical Studies and met the love of his life, Debbie. Nate
was a youth pastor for 14 years before following a call to evangelism.
As a full-time evangelist Nate travels with his family to share the Gospel
and equip Christians for ministry and evangelism. He also teaches Apologetics
at a Christian High School in NC. He uses humor, truth, and object lessons
to communicate to teens and adults on their level. He is also
an avid Star Wars fan and even named his children Luke and Leia. You can
find out more about Nate, his beliefs, and his ministry at
Weekend #9 | March 2nd-4th
Middle & High Schoolers
Thurman is the Associate Pastor of
Grace and Peace Fellowship (PCA) in St. Louis, MO. Prior to that he was
the Pastor of New Song Community Church (PCA), in the Sandtown community of inner-city
Baltimore for 13 years and was on staff with YoungLife for 4 years. He holds
a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) from Chesapeake Theological Seminary and Doctor of Ministry
degree from Covenant Theological Seminary. Thurman has been married to his lovely
wife, Evie, for 19 years and they have been blessed with four beautiful children:
Charvez, Shaquana, Joshua, and Caleb. Thurman serves as a member of the PCA's Mission
to North America Committee and the Missouri Presbytery’s Reconciliation and
Kingdom Justice Committee. Fun fact? He wrote his doctoral dissertation on,
"Christ-Centered Preaching in Hip Hop Culture."