FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have found that flexibility is the key to a successful retreat and/or event. We will do our best to accommodate the type of event/retreat that you want, and we hope that you will “flex” your retreat to fit into our facilities. If, after reading the answers to the questions below, you still have questions, or were hoping for a different answer than what is listed, please feel free to contact us directly to see if we can serve your needs.
Please select a question for more information:
Retreat Booking Questions
Yes, with the exception of the pool area and activities like the Ziplines, Climbing Tower, etc. If you contract for a minimum group size of 351 persons, we will hold the retreat facilities exclusively for your group. Facilities refers specifically to the following: All lodging (Bunks, Lodges, Cabins, Private Rooms), all meeting rooms, both gyms, and the Dining Hall. Unless special arrangements are made, Refreshing Mountain reserves the right to rent campsites to patrons (the campsites are in a different area from the rest of the retreat area), to rent activities like ziplines, climbing tower, etc. to day guests (but your group will have the first option to book them if you are interested in these), and to open the pool to the community. In all cases, we will make every effort to ensure that any other bookings we accept in addition to an “exclusive” retreat, do not hinder the accessibility of the facilities by the exclusive group.
We take reservations up to 12 months in advance. This gives our existing groups the first option to rebook for the following year. If you are interested in booking a retreat more than 12 months in advance, you are still welcome to contact us to tell us about the retreat details you are looking for. We will place you on a “wait list” and then follow up with you once we know about availability.
That depends on how many people you have, what type of lodging you use, and how long you stay. The specific amount will be set on your contract, but here are some common scenarios for many groups we host.
|20 to 60 persons||$450 per night|
|61 to 120 persons||$800 per night|
|121 to 180 persons||$1,500 per night|
|181 to 250 persons||$2,000 per night|
|251 to 350 persons||$3,000 per night|
|350 + persons||$4,000 per night|
The deposit is generally due with your contract, 1-2 weeks from when you place a temporary hold.
To book a Retreat at Refreshing Mountain, please use the following steps:
- Contact us to discuss the type of retreat that you are planning, the approximate number of people that will attend, and available dates. It is also recommended that you come and take a camp tour (or at least scroll through our Virtual Tour online), especially if this is the first time that you have held a retreat here. Please call in advance to set up a tour time. We conduct tours any days except Sundays.
- Place a Temporary Hold on a suitable date(s) (this will hold for 1-2 weeks). At this point, we will send you a contract to review.
- Sign and return a RETREAT CONTRACT along with your DEPOSIT (the amount will be listed on your contract) . On the contract, you will be reserving space for a minimum and maximum # of people. Your final attendance number is due 2 weeks before the event start date.
- Once your reservation is confirmed, your space is secured. Usually about 3-4 months prior to the event, we will begin planning the details of your schedule.
The minimum group size is 30 persons in bunks and 21 in lodge/private rooms. For cabins, there is no minimum group size (the cabins can be rented individually). The maximum group size (comfortably) is 450 persons, but we will allow for larger groups in certain cases (we have capacity for up to 515 overnight guests). Talk to reservation staff for more details.
If you have less than 20 persons and are interested in a retreat at RMC, please call and talk to the reservation staff at 1-888-353-1490. There are certain times when we will lower the minimum number of people in a specific group, and/or we can look at blocking several cabins to accommodate your group.
Up to 75% of the deposit that you submit with your contract will be credited to your invoice. The remaining 25% will be returned via check after the retreat, pending a satisfactory camp inspection by RMC staff. If you wish, you can also post the deposit toward a future retreat. This is a good idea if your event is an annual event, in that this gives you the first option to rebook the same dates from year to year.
If our facilities are damaged by your group, the cost for repair or replacement will be deducted from your deposit. If your deposit amount is not sufficient to cover damages, you will be billed for the outstanding balance.
Yes, it is most likely that your group will not be the only one here at any given time. However, this does not pose a problem for most groups. Both your meeting and lodging areas will be blocked exclusively to your group, therefore, you will not need to share these areas with strangers. Your contact with other groups will primarily be at meal times (but we often stagger meal times to limit this interaction as well) and in the pool (during the summer).
When you provide a schedule of your retreat to our Guest Services staff, we will coordinate your retreat schedule with other groups that are here, so that your use of a gym, the sports fields, ziplines, and other activities does not conflict with the other groups (and vice versa). If possible, please submit the schedule at least 6 weeks prior to the retreat.
Retreat Food Service Questions
Overnight Retreat Groups are required to purchase their meal plan from Refreshing Mountain, since there are no cooking facilities available for guest groups to rent. Additionally, groups must keep a consistent meal schedule (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner) from the start of the retreat to the end of the retreat (i.e. no skipping meals).
Guests that are staying in Tents or Cabins generally have the option to provide their own food, provided that the total group size is less than 20 people. For any overnight retreats with 20+ persons, a meal plan from Refreshing Mountain will be included in your quote for the event.
You have 3 options to consider for snacks. We can provide them, you are welcome to bring your own, or you can request to have our camp store open for your “snack time”. Here are some details about each option.
Our snack options. Choose from a variety of snacks- priced and serving size listed for your convenience. Click here to see our snack menu.
Bringing your own snacks. If you intend to eat the snacks in your meeting room, please plan snacks that are appropriate to the age of your group, keeping in mind that all of our meeting rooms have carpet on the floor (i.e. Red grape juice is not a good drink choice for young children, because spills will stain the carpet). Please be aware that your group will be billed for damages that you cause to the carpet. If possible, we encourage groups to use the Dining Hall for their snack area. Also, don’t forget to also pack your cups, napkins, plates, utensils, etc. that you may need for serving snacks.
Opening the Camp Store. Our camp store has lots of snack options, like ice cream, popcorn, coffee, pizza, etc. You are welcome to request to have the store open at specific times for your group, and then your guests can purchase the snacks that they want. Talk to Guest Services if you have interest in adding this option to your schedule.
The following are examples of some meals here at Refreshing Mountain:
- Breakfast – will generally include eggs (Scrambled, omelets, or quiche, etc.), a grilled/fried item (Pancakes, French Toast, or Waffles, etc.), a breakfast meat (Sausage, ham, bacon, etc.), potatoes (Home fries, hash browns, etc.), a Danish (donuts, pop tarts, banana bread, etc.), fresh fruit, cereal, juices, coffee, and tea.
- Lunch –will generally have 2 sandwich options (Meatball subs, Chicken sandwiches, Burgers, Hotdogs, Sausages, or cold cuts, etc.), a baked item (casserole, mac and cheese, or soup, etc.), a fried item (French fries, onion rings, or chips, etc.), salad bar, fruit, & beverages.
- Dinner – will generally include 2 entrees (Baked Chicken, Pasta, Roast Beef, Fish, Sliced Ham, etc.), several side dishes to complement the entrees (Baked/au gratin/mashed potatoes, rice, steamed vegetables, etc.), a salad bar, Dinner Rolls, desserts and beverages.
While planning the schedule for your event, you will be able to make some menu recommendations for your group . While we do not guarantee that we can serve what you request (i.e. depending on market conditions, vendor limitations, etc.), we will certainly consider your requests when determining the menu and honor them where possible.
Most of our property is designated as NO SMOKING. We host many children’s events and want to keep the “Young Lungs Safe”. We are actually members of a PA state initiative to that effect, and you will see signs posted around the property stating “Young Lungs at Play. No Smoking”. Guests that need to smoke are asked to either smoke in their vehicle, or in the corner of Parking Lot B, away from any buildings/facilities.
Alcohol is NOT permitted on the property. Violators of this policy may be asked to leave without refund. The only exception to this policy is if wine is used in a church communion service at the meeting rooms, and this should be discussed with the office beforehand.
The short answer is “No”. Read on if you want the longer answer…
If you have had a facility tour already, you may have noticed the steep hill next to the baseball field. This hill is great for sledding in the winter, and many groups find it an enticing spot for a slip n slide as well. Back in 2012-2013 we had a plethora of camps that included this in their programming, and at the end of those seasons, while evaluating our “accident log” we noticed a disproportionate number of injuries associated with these slides. After discussing this with a number of the groups, our Board of Directors decided to adopt a policy of no slip-n-slides on the property, since it seemed that they created a higher risk for injuries on-site.
For some events, pranks are about as essential as s’mores…. J We know you have fun traditions for camp. At the same time, pranks run a high risk of costing you extra. Yes, toothpaste does eat paint, and no, our staff does not just clean up silly string and shaving cream for fun….. The general rule is that if pranks occur, you need to thoroughly clean them up. If, during checkout, our staff see ANY evidence of pranks, that means you failed at the “thorough cleanup” and you will be billed accordingly. This will start at a nominal cost of $20 (i.e. a squirt of toothpaste on doorknobs or toilet seats) for isolated instances, but can quickly escalate to significant costs of hundreds of dollars (i.e. if we have to re-paint or replace furniture/fixtures). Our goal in this is simply to keep our property nice and well maintained, so if your actions cause damage, we will bill accordingly.
In addition to the above, the following is offered as “thoughts from the heart” based on many experiences we have witnessed over the years with events we host. Pranks are the perfect way to ruin a retreat for one of your guests. Think about it. There is generally someone who is the “brunt” of the prank. They will generally be slimed, smeared, “grossed-out”, scared, deceived, hurt, or otherwise, “victimized” as part of the prank. Granted, some pranks are relatively harmless and some people can handle a “joke”, but the thing about pranks is that they tend to breed retaliation, and they escalate with each reaction. More often than not, the end result is a mess to clean up, and quite possibly damaged property. But even more significantly, the end result can also lead to someone feeling hurt, bullied, unwelcome, or upset. Is that the goal of your retreat? Of course not, but sometimes that aspect isn’t thoroughly thought thru.
In summary, we want you to have an incredible experience at our property, making memories that will last a long time. A harmless prank or two may be part of that, which is fine. But please be respectful of the property and more importantly, make sure that you don’t create any painful memories for anyone either. 🙂
Working and Service animals are welcome on the property. Otherwise, pets are NOT allowed in any buildings of the property. This includes meeting rooms, lodging, dining hall, etc. Guests IN TENTSITES ONLY are allowed to bring pets for an extra fee of $5 per day, provided that the animal is friendly, will not be noisy (i.e. bark a lot), and will be on a leash at all times. Please pick up any waste your pet leaves. Any “presents” found will be returned to the owner. Refreshing Mountain reserves the right to require removal of the pet from the property at any time and for any reason, if it is causing a disturbance. Again, the above refers to pets only. Working/Service animals are welcome and have no restrictions on the property.
The short answer is “No”. But, “Christian Meditation” is permitted and encouraged. Read on if you want the longer answer/explanation….
This is an interesting question in that the exercise component to Yoga certainly coincides with one of the goals of our property, which is to promote exercise and fitness. The spiritual component to Yoga, however, is not based in Christian Tradition, and as such, it conflicts with our adopted Statement of Faith.
Therefore, if you can combine your stretching exercises with “Christian Meditation” or other worshipful rituals that bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ, then we are fully supportive of such conduct on the property. But we do request that guests refrain from “Yoga” , spiritual exercises that include “emptying the mind”, and/or any other spiritual “meditation” rituals which are not Christ-centered, while staying at our location. It is our conviction that this distinction helps us to intentionally create/promote a spiritual atmosphere on the property that glorifies Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Yes. We host many public schools, colleges, corporations, families, etc that are not here for a religious purpose. We want guests to feel welcome here regardless of any/no religious affiliation. Many aspects of a retreat, such as meals, lodging, adventure recreation, etc transcend religious differences, and similarly, we have common ground with various faiths when it comes to promoting relationship enrichment, promoting the benefits of physical exercise, enjoying the beauty of Creation, etc.
Notwithstanding the above, our Board of Directors, in accordance with our membership of the Christian Camp and Conference Association, has adopted a Statement of Faith for our organization. This is a specifically Christ-centered Statement, and as part of our contract process, each guest group needs to agree that any Religious/Cultural/Social Activities that you organize as part of your event at our location will not CONFLICT with this statement.
For example, a public school that may be planning a retreat for peer-to-peer enrichment or Nature Education will have no conflict with signing our contract, since they have no religious component to their event. Additionally, a Muslim family that wants to go ziplining or rent cabins has no conflict since there is no intrinsic religious component to the event.
In contrast to the above, a non-Christian group that would like to use our property for religious instruction of their group members, will have a conflict in signing our contract. Our property was founded with the purpose of promoting Christ-centered lifestyles and worship of God within the Christian Tradition. This identity informs many aspects of who we are and how we operate. We ask that groups respect this part of the heritage of our property when (1) deciding whether or not we are a suitable host location and (2) when planning the Religious/Cultural/Social activities that are part of your event with us.
If your group has an unmarried co-ed couple and/or same sex LGBTQ couple, we would be happy to have a conversation with you regarding our accommodations for them.
Our goal is to be a welcoming facility where everyone can experience refreshment, no matter who that is, or where they are at in their walk with Jesus. Additionally, we are a Christ-centered facility, and we seek to operate our property in a way that honors Biblical teaching (Mission Statement and Statement of Faith), including the teachings of celibacy outside of marriage, faithfulness in marriage, and “marriage” being defined as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman.
Our group retreat guest services team would love to talk with you more and see how we can best meet your group needs by honoring our guests and our convictions. Please feel free to call us at 717-738-1490.
No, we do not. This would include, but is not limited to, Nudist events, festivals involving alcohol and/or public drunkenness, LGBTQ Weddings, or any other event that celebrates conduct which is not aligned with morality as understood from a Biblical worldview. For a more thorough explanation, please read the answer to the question regarding renting housing to unmarried coed groups and/or LGBTQ groups.
Retreat Scheduling Questions
Generally No. We need to schedule staff in advance, plus, our activities generally will get pretty full as we get close to the dates. Also, you get better rates for activities if you book them ahead of time (with an overnight retreat, at least 60+ days in advance). There are times where we can squeeze a few things in last minute, so it never hurts to ask if a last-minute add-on is possible, but especially if you are planning for a large group, you should plan for that ahead of time.
Access to these facilities is dictated by your schedule. We do not just have “free time” where any group can use the spaces without reserving them. Several months before your event, Guest Services will ask you to submit a preliminary schedule and on that schedule you need to delineate the spaces you want to use at any given time. For instance, you might write “Team Games” on your schedule, but we need to know if you want to use the baseball field, soccer field, a gym, or some other space for that activity, so you need to let us know the location you want as part of the planning process.
Once we have your preliminary schedule, we will compare it to other activity happening at the same time to make sure there is no conflict between groups.
Here are a few guidelines for creating your preliminary schedule:
- Submit it early. 2-3 months before your retreat is recommended.
- Make sure to get your meal times from Guest Services before you build your schedule, that way you can build your other requests around your meal times.
- In general, for spaces like gyms, sports fields, etc, limit requests to 2 hour blocks of time, morning, afternoon, and evening. These are recommended time slots that we commonly use for these spaces:
- 8am – 10am OR 10am – 12pm
- 1pm – 3pm OR 3pm – 5pm
- 6pm – 8pm OR 8pm – 10pm OR 10pm – 12am
- If you would like to have times different from this and/or more time within a bracket, feel free to note this for Guest Services. We start with these parameters to make sure all groups have the option at some time, but once all of the schedules are set, we are happy to go back through and add more time in for you, if there are slots still open. Talk to Guests Services about this more.
- On your schedule, we appreciate if you can include the text “Please be prompt” at each meal time. See the FAQ on meal times for more details on this.
- On your departing day, please make sure to list your “LODGING CHECKOUT TIME” as this is likely different from your departure time. Check your contract and/or with Guest Services, but generally checkout of lodging is 9AM (or right after breakfast) on your departing day.
Yes, you are welcome to use the pool for baptisms. The pond is NOT an option due to safety concerns of the muddy bottom and, in general, the stagnant, untreated water quality.
Baptisms at the pool need to be outside of the Community Pool Hours. During the summer, this typically means that they need to wrap up prior to 11:00AM in the morning or start after 7:00PM at night. We do not charge for this service but we do need to know ahead of time so that we can schedule it accordingly. Talk with Guest Services if you would like plan a baptism as part of your retreat.
Yes and No. All groups (except for federal employees) do need to pay a hotel and excise tax on lodging. If you have a retreat package quote from us (i.e. bundling meals, lodging, and facilities use) we have already made that easy for you by including these taxes in the price quote per person.
The PA sales tax is handled differently. We do NOT bundle that into the pricing (it is listed separately on your quote). You may be able to be exempted from this if you are a Non-profit group, provided that you have a valid tax exemption certificate ISSUED BY PA. This is an important detail. Tax exemption from other states (i.e. MD, NY, NJ, VA, etc) IS NOT VALID in PA, even if your group is non-profit.
With that being said, if your organization is registered for exemption in another state, it is very likely that you can qualify for exemption in PA as well. You just need to file the paperwork. Please make sure to file the application before your retreat arrival date (we actually recommend that you do this 4-6 weeks before the retreat, so that you can have the ID number issued in time for your event). Here is a direct link to the Exemption Application information and the Application for PA Dept of Rev. https://revenue-pa.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/413/~/how-do-i-get-a-sales-tax-exemption-for-a-non-profit-organization%3F
Bunks, Lodges, and Private Rooms
- Collect all trash on the floor and in the beds, and make sure it is in the trash cans.
- Furniture should be returned to the same location it was originally found.
- Check to make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind.
- Return keys to the office (or place them in the dropbox if the office is closed).
- Wash and dry all dishes, utensils, etc, and place them in their proper places. Wipe clean the countertops and table.
- Set the heat at 65 degrees in the winter months. In the summer, the air conditioners should be set at 75 degrees.
- Place all used sheets and pillow cases and towels (not blankets or pillows) in an organized pile by the front door (inside) on the floor.
- Sweep the floors.
- All items that were in the cabin when you entered should be there when you leave – DO NOT take any items from one cabin to the other.
- Return keys and parking passes to the office (or place them in the dropbox if the office is closed).
- Collect all trash on the floor and make sure it is in the trash cans.
- Return keys to the office (or place them in the dropbox if the office is closed).
- Clean up trash at the site and place it in trash receptacles.
- Make sure any campfire embers are completely cold.
- If the fire pit and/or picnic tables were moved, please return them to original location.
Generally, when we have multiple groups on-site simultaneously (which is most of the time), we serve in shifts. This keeps the lines from getting too long, and it keeps the interaction between groups limited (although there is usually some overlap, since one group will be starting as another group is wrapping up). This system works very well IF your group stays on schedule… 🙂 Being early or late will likely impact another group’s planned meal times. We build in a bit of “wiggle room” into the shift schedule too, but we ask that you give intentional effort to prompt arrival for your scheduled times.
Early in the planning process, Guest Services will arrange the meal rotation times for your event and let you know when your time slots are for meals. Then you can build the rest of your schedule around those details.
For groups that are on-site from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the pool is included in your stay, during the Community Pool Times (click here for a schedule). If you plan to use the pool during your retreat, please make sure to note the following guidelines.
- MODEST SWIMMING SUITS. Swimwear must be a ONE-PIECE SUIT FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS (ALL AGES) or else an opaque shirt must be worn as a cover-up. Certain tankini-style suits are permitted provided that no midriff is showing at any time. BOXER STYLE SUITS FOR MEN AND BOYS (i.e. no SPEEDO suits). Light-weight clothing may be worn in the pool (i.e. mesh shorts, cotton t-shirts), but no jeans, sweat pants, or full-length dresses are to be worn in the pool.
- WET PLAYGROUND. No rough-play or climbing on the pipes (there may be little children in this area).
- WADING AREA. No shoulder chicken fights. No more than 3 persons in a “dunk party”.
- DIVING AREA. Face-forward stunts only. One bounce and off.
- WATERSLIDE. One person at a time. Feet first on back only. You must be able to swim to use the slides.
- CHAPERONES. Groups with children/teens must have Pool Monitors (adults/chaperones) assigned to the pool area to assist the lifeguards with enforcement of these and other posted rules.
- IN GENERAL. No swimming in the roped off areas, no foul language, and please be courteous of others.
Quiet hours are from 11:00PM to 7:00AM. This means that all activities/games must be moved indoors by 11:00 PM, and campfires must be wrapped up. Basically, after 11:00PM, we would like the property to be quiet outside, to be courteous to those guests who want to sleep. By mid-night, we ask that all guests be settled in your lodging areas. We also ask that you communicate to your group about being quiet outside after 11PM, especially if you have an activity in your meeting room, gym, or the dining hall that carries past 11PM (and you are then headed back to your lodging after that time). Please remember that there are likely guests on the property that are not part of your group, and being quiet after 11PM is a wonderful way to be considerate to their event as well.
For each Overnight Retreat that we host, we ask that you provide a copy of your organization’s liability insurance coverage. This is generally a pretty simple process of calling your insurance broker and telling them that “Refreshing Mountain is requesting a certificate of Insurance”. They will likely ask you for the dates of your event, and also for the address of Refreshing Mountain. It is:
455 Camp Rd
Stevens, PA 17578
Insurance certificates can also be emailed directly to us at Suzanne@refreshingmountain.com .
Sometimes, your insurance company will ask if Refreshing Mountain needs to be “Additionally Insured”. The answer is No. RM just needs to be a “Certificate Holder”.
Yes, we do carry liability insurance which covers elements of the retreat that we are responsible for (i.e. facilities, foodservice, activities, etc). However, there are elements to your event that we are not involved in and therefore, our insurance coverage does not extend to these areas. Things like the programming of your event, counselling/training of guests, games that you plan, etc are not going to be covered by our insurance. That is why we want to make sure you have coverage in place as well.
It is also important to note that RM DOES NOT offer camper medical insurance. This means that RM does not carry primary insurance to cover injuries that may arise from the normal course of use of the property. It is recommended that your group collect health insurance information for each guest that attends your event. Hopefully, this is information that you can just file away without need to reference it during your event…but it is always good to be prepared for the un-expected.
“Activities” and “Facilities” are two important terms at Refreshing Mountain. It is important that you understand the difference between the two as you plan your retreat.
“Facilities” are areas that you have access to at NO EXTRA COST. “Facilities” includes Gym #1, Gym #2, the playground, hiking trails, Pavilions, Baseball Field, Sand Volley Ball courts, Soccer Field, Outdoor Basketball Court, pond, Camp Store (although a small “opening fee” may apply at some times), and the Pool (seasonal), during the Community Pool hours. You can block time into these areas without adding cost to your event. (see the FAQ regarding “when can I schedule….” For additional details).
“Activities” are optional programming options that we offer which you can add to your event FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE. These include Ziplines, Climbing Tower, Archery, Paintball Obstacle Course, Nature Programs, Equestrian Programs, Teambuilding, Geocaching, Campfires, Private Pool Parties, etc. There are a lot of details that go into the planning portion of these Activities, so talk with Guest Services if you have questions about adding them onto your event. Overnight Retreats do have significant discounts available to them for these add-ons, provided that you schedule them 60+ days before your arrival.
We have miscellaneous basketballs, soccer balls, kick balls, tennis balls, footballs, and volleyballs available for the gyms and outdoor court. Please keep in mind that this is “camp” equipment, and is used a lot. Therefore, we recommend that you bring along your own equipment if you want to have high-quality equipment.
Refreshing Mountain also has sports equipment in nicer condition that may be signed out to adult counselors, who will be responsible for the return of equipment. Adult counselors should go to the office to sign out such equipment. Equipment to sign out includes: Good volleyballs, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, indoor soccer balls, kick balls, playground balls, and dodge balls. Softball equipment (bats, balls, and gloves), tennis racquets, Frisbees, indoor floor hockey equipment, cones, markers, flags (capture the flag), ping-pong equipment, and lawn games (Croquet, Badminton, Bocce,) are also available upon request.
We also have Horseshoes, Shuffleboard, Tetherball, Box Hockey, and Carpet Ball available for the group’s use.
Lastly, we have many board games and card games available to checkout in the office. These come in handy for Free Time and evening use.
Yes, we ask that groups do not plan any color runs, tie-dye, shaving cream battles, slip-n-slides, mud pits, or other messy activities that would use a lot of water and/or make a mess on the fields/facilities. We know for a fact that there are lots of ways to have fun that don’t involve making a mess. Feel free to ask Guest Services for ideas.