Encounter Retreat

Encounter is a three day retreat that aims to connect incoming freshmen with other Christians and churches at the University of Oklahoma. Through dozens of activities and experiences, such as worship time, small group interactions, faith fairs, and competitive games, we hope to build a community of faith that can support students throughout their college careers.

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General Information

The Horizon Retreat is a 3 day retreat that connects incoming freshmen at The University of South Carolina and Midlands Tech to Christ-centered community in Columbia, South Carolina. 

The Horizon Retreat will create relationships between freshmen and UofSC students who are already established in local churches and ministries. Our desire is to provide freshmen at UofSC the opportunity to develop deep relationships with other incoming freshmen who are passionate about growing in their spiritual journey. We will elevate the engagement between freshmen and the churches surrounding Columbia. Our intention is to magnify the importance of intimacy between freshmen and Jesus Christ while giving them the encouragement and support they need to grow in their spiritual journey during their time at UofSC. 

During the retreat, there will be speaker sessions, worship, small group time, and fun games and activities. This retreat will launch students into their time at UofSC by introducing them to friends and equipping them with foundational tools that will help them grow spiritually for the rest of their lives. We will have a ministry fair which will provide students an opportunity to interact face to face with staff and pastors from the local churches and campus ministries in Columbia. Our hope is that campers will get a glimpse at how God is moving both on the campus and the city of Columbia. 

Our retreat is scheduled for August 27-29, 2021. 

The Horizon Retreat is open for any incoming students at the University of South Carolina or Midlands Technical College. 

The Horizon Retreat will be hosted at Look Up Lodge in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina which is about 2 hours from Columbia. 

Our Beliefs

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. We believe it is the final authority for our Christian faith and how we should live our lives. [2 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:18, Hebrews 1:1-3] We believe that there is One True God who is existing in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Genesis 1:26, Matthew 3:16-17, Psalm 139] We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross to provide for man’s redemption. We believe in His bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven, His present ministry of interceding for us, and His return to earth in power and glory. [2 Corinthians 12:13, John 1:1, 14, 20:28] We believe that Christ died on the cross as a substitute for sinners. Christ, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserve. This was a full payment for sins so that we can have the opportunity know God. [Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 2:24-26, Hebrews 10:1-4]


"Going into college, my biggest priority was finding a Christian community... Encounter immediately connected me with a great group of students that I could go to for anything."

Emily, 2018 Camper

"Encounter was an amazing experience that got me connected with friends I still have to this day. I was able to see what all the churches in the area had to offer and found the best fit for me."

Matt, 2017 Camper

"Encounter gave me friends that not only helped me with the new beginnings of college, but that helped me continue to grow in Christ."

Gracie, 2018 Camper

General Information

Are you a church or individual that needs more info on The Horizon Retreat? No problem! Here are some materials that you can download.

Horizon Retreat Overview

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Horizon Retreat Leadership Structure

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Additionally, here is the link to the camp scholarship form: https://forms.gle/ueqNdciUydpvcgkB9

Ministry Fair

The Horizon Retreat's main goal is to connect incoming freshmen with the community of faith on UofSC's campus and in the city of Columbia.

Our main avenue through which we accomplish this goal is our faith fair which is held during the retreat. Below are our church and ministry partners who participated in this year's fair. Read a little bit about them and if they interest you, visit their website!

NewSpring is a life-giving church, marked by the presence of God, activating us to impact others. Rally is NewSpring's college ministry. Rally exists to activate young adults into a life of following Jesus. Together, we pursue the presence of God, people, and the ways of Jesus.

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RUF has been on the campus of South Carolina since 1989. Our heart is to reach students with the Gospel and invite them into a community that is learning to follow Jesus in every part of life. We consist of weekly large groups and worship, small groups, and endless conversations over coffee.

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Young Life is a middle, high school, and college ministry. College students have the opportunity to get plugged into community through Young Life College and can also serve as leaders at local schools and share the Gospel with students by forming relationships and investing in their lives.

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We are a group of college students and adult leaders that exist to engage all of our campuses with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each week, our students study God’s Word together across Columbia in community groups, worship together at Thrive on Thursday Nights in the Capstone Ballroom, and come together as one at Shandon Baptist Church on Sunday Mornings. Whether you are exploring your faith for the first time or looking to step into student leadership, you are invited to join us, as we seek to know, love, and enjoy the Living God and each other. 

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We are a Jesus-centered family on mission. Our hope is to serve USC. Wherever you’re coming from, we want you to know that God loves you, wants a relationship with you, and has made a place for you in His family. 

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Dream Church is a church passionate about unveiling heaven in Columbia, SC. We believe God is a God who wants to be enjoyed, who looks at us as His most prized possession, who wants us to dream big, who wants an intimate relationship with us, and who has called us to face-to-face communion with Him. Whether it’s your first time or your 100th time at Dream, you are family and you belong.

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Our mission is to invite college women into Christ-centered community that fosters vulnerability and transforms stories. Be intentional about learning from one another through testimonies and experiences while discovering our own personal relationship with Christ. Serve together. What's on the heart of God is what's on the heart of Delight. Each week we dive into the word and discover more of God's heart. We do life together! Whether it's a Saturday night dinner, coffee dates, birthday parties, or Friday morning bible study, we are involved in each other's lives every day of the week. Relationships formed in Delight are for a lifetime. Delight Dates are an integral part of our ministry!  

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Campus Outreach exists to be a spiritual resource to students by introducing them to Jesus and equipping them to know Him and make Him known, in college and for the rest of their lives. Through weekly meetings, Bible studies, retreats, conferences, and training opportunities, Campus Outreach aims to raise up leaders who will impact the world for good. Students from all backgrounds are invited to investigate Christ, grow in a relationship with Him, and challenge the world to do the same by partnering with Campus Outreach at USC!

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Interested in Joining?

Email us to sign up for a booth at our ministry fair!

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Registration Closed

Registration closed for Encounter Retreat at 11:59PM EST on April 1, 2020.

Support Encounter Retreat

We would ask that your first and foremost contribution would be prayer for the retreat and the leadership team who are devoting their time and effort to starting Encounter Retreat. In addition, spreading the word to incoming freshmen and your local church is a great help to us!

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