I think this is always a struggle for youth groups because it's hard to teach & be entertaining. I know that as soon as I start getting into anything to heavily spiritual I start to lose the interest of my youth. I try to do it in small chunks as well as using technology like DVDs, CDs, etc.
Our parish holds a weekly Children's Adoration on Sunday evenings from 6-7 pm. We just started this last Spring and it has never really taken hold. There are the same 2-3 families that come every week, but that's it. Inspired by our Adoration experiences at Steubenville NW and the Idaho Catholic Youth Conference, our group will be leading this Adoration time on the last Sunday of every month. Our format will be roughly: opening song, Scripture reading, short pause for meditation on reading, song (short chant style, a few words repeated over 'Our God Reigns, Our God Reigns, Forever Your Kingdom Reigns"), Short Directed Meditation (we'll start with the booklet "My Dear Young Friends" by JPII), short quiet reflection time, chant style song again, Question for Reflection/Challenge for the Week, closing song.
Since we've never done this, I don't know how it will fly. I'll keep you all posted!
We just started doing Confirmation retreats a couple of years ago. The first year, I tried to do most of it myself. I had a couple of other speakers assisting, but it turned out to be just another extended lesson with me droning on. (Well, a couple of kids said they liked it, but otherwise, I wouldn't call it very successful!)
Last year, we actually traveled with our priest about 2 1/2 hours away to a Hermitage. There are two sisters there. They have a beautiful little chapel and lots of acreage for roaming. It was in February. The ground was covered in snow, but it was a bright and sunny day otherwise. Sr. Mary Beverly gave us a tour of the grounds. She then gave a short (20 minute) lesson on prayer and using Scripture as an aid to prayer. Then she said, "For the next hour, you are to go off by yourself and pray. No talking with anyone else. If you think you have prayed all that you can pray, look up these verses and pray some more." You should have seen the shocked looks on their faces! But, off they went for an hour of prayer/journaling. Then we had lunch and some general sharing about the experience. Most kids said they were not at all used to that, but kind of liked the peace and quiet. After lunch, Sr. gave another short 20 minute lesson more specifically on the Holy Spirit and Confirmation. Then she said," For the next hour, you are to go off by yourself and pray." Even I was surprised by that! The kids hesitated a bit...how much prayer does a person need in a day??? But, they did go off and do something for an hour by themselves. We ended it all with our own "private" Mass, which was a true joy for the Sisters, as they don't have a resident chaplain. The kids said that they felt it really bonded them together as a group and they loved that it was so quiet that they weren't distracted during Mass.
I didn't feel that the kids were significantly impacted at first, but when it came time to write their letters to the Bishop prior to Confirmation, they all stressed that it was a very meaningful, positive experience. The Bishop even mentioned their comments during his Homily at Confirmation (we were together with a parish that didn't do the same retreat).
I'm not saying this is the perfect template for retreats, but it did work well for a daylong Confirmation retreat. We are going back again this year!
In Idaho, we have a yearly youth conference. In the years that I have been participating (about 10), I have seen a marked change. It began as "Catholic Lite", more about socializing and fun & games with a dash of Catholicism thrown in. Happily, I have seen that slowly move toward something much stronger and vibrant. Last year's event was simply astounding. Excellent speakers (Mark Hart, Matthew Kelly & Judy McDonald (Catholic comedianne), very powerful testimony at both the men's and women's sessions (from locals), an awesome band (Ike Ndolo) and very profound Adoration. Truly, a very blessed event...waiting and hoping that this year will likewise be an inspiration!