Release of Parental Duties (aka get more retreat… | UMC YoungPeople
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January 2020

Release of Parental Duties (aka get more retreat volunteers)

By Jeremy Steele

Over the years when we have tried to get people to volunteer on a retreat we would be met with the classic “I really want to go, but Johnny really doesn’t want me to.” After knocking my heads against the wall one too many times I realized what was needed: a legalish agreement for the parent to release their parental duties (agree to not parent their child) during said retreat. After the brainstorm hit, I worked up this legalish sounding document and every time we reviewed that excuse we offered to broker a deal wherein the parent agreed to not parent for the weekend and the child agreed to be not horrible. If you want a fancy pdf, you can download it here. If you want to make your own, here’s the wording we used:

Release of Parental Duties

We the undersigned agree to the following:

____________________________ as legal guardian in all other situations and circumstances I hereby relinquish my parental duties to correct, discipline, pester, tease, and parent in general during the retreat. I give all the aforementioned parental duties to the other adult leaders on the retreat and commit to hold harmless my child for any lapses in manners and other non life-threatening misbehavior.

____________________________ as child of the above legal guardian I grant my full permission for them to attend as a full retreat leader and will not express general disgust when I see them and will interact as a normal, kind student when I see them during the retreat. I recognize that they may be forced to intervene in life threatening situations, and will grant an occasional moment to share something good that has happened during the retreat.

When he's not with his four children and wonderful wife, Jeremy Steele is a teaching pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama. He is passionate about engaging people with the movement of God and speaks across the US. He's also the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. For more about his other books, articles, and resources, see