The mission of Into the Deep is to answer the questions ‘who are we and why are we here?’ 

Infused with Theology of the Body insight, speaking engagements and teaching seminars span the school months while outdoor retreats in state or national parks fill the summers.  Into the Deep applies the universal language of the Theology of the Body to all ages and vocations – reminding each person to make an unrepeatable gift of self.

What do we still need to cover in this Frequently Asked Questions section?  Let us know:  [email protected]

What do we DO on an I.D. Retreat?

I.D. Retreats are camping retreats that typically involve some level of hiking and/or canoeing, cooking food on stoves and fires, swimming, watching sunsets and stars, chatting around campfires, sleeping in tents, and other basic outdoor fun stuff.

Short talks, discussion, prayer time (both as a group and on-your-own), Mass, and Eucharistic adoration are scattered throughout the day. The “schedule” is never the same due to weather, terrain, and people factors, but rest assured that you will eat three meals per day, your body will be challenged as well as allowed to rest, and (hopefully) you will receive God’s gift of letting the rest unfold.

Do I have to be Catholic to attend an I.D. Retreat?

While I.D. Retreats include many practices of the Catholic faith (including daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration), they are not limited to Catholics alone. We simply ask that you participate in prayer times and have a desire to explore the meaning of being created in the image of God.

What age do I have to be to go on an I.D. Retreat?

We plan retreats for middle school girls, high school students (ladies and gents on the same retreat), and for adults. See specific retreat pages to find out what age group it serves.

Are I.D. Retreats “chastity retreats”?

Yes and no…

YES because the Theology of the Body teaches us the reasons why we would want to be pure in heart and body (because we are made sooooo good!!!). It teaches us about masculinity and femininity, why we are made male and female, and helps us understand what dating, marriage, and celibacy are all about.

NO because that’s not the whole picture of what the Theology of the Body teaches us! There is a bigger picture being addressed here – namely, who we are as human persons, what our purpose is in life, and what it means to love like God loves.

How do I know if the content of an I.D. Retreat is appropriate for my child?

Each person is unrepeatable, and only you know where your child is at. Be at peace knowing that it is always the intent of our retreats to complement parents in the education of their children and to approach the participants with great sensitivity.

Since it is impossible in this small space to address the way I nuance wording for each age group, I encourage you to call and discuss in greater detail what will be covered during a particular retreat: [email protected] or 612-518-5490.

That being said, the contents of I.D. Retreats are by no means to be compared with “sex ed” or even a “chastity” retreat. The main point is to educate youth (and adults for that matter) on the building blocks of what it means to be a person, made in the image of God, to love like God loves – ultimately giving them the tools to understand the logic behind chastity.

The Theology of the Body is sometimes misunderstood to be something that would reveal too much to children about their sexuality – but on the contrary, it simply reveals to them exactly what they need to know: who they are and why they are here.

Sample topics include:
* What it means to be a body-soul human person: intellect, free will, feelings, 5 senses, male or female.

* Being created male or female is always talked about positively: “differences are a gift that bring life into the world.” For younger children the emphasis is on how if we were all the same nothing would get done in the world. For high school youth the connection is made that because union is possible, life is possible.

* Our bodies speak a language: smiles, hugs, looking someone in the eyes, etc.

* The purpose of life is to give and receive real love (as small as smiling at someone or as big as laying down your life) so we can experience union with God in heaven.

* To love as God loves means loving freely, totally, faithfully, and in a life-giving way (this looks different depending on relationship and state in life).

These baseline concepts will not over-expose the youth, they rather have the power to enlighten difficult moral topics in a simple and clear way. Thus language can be used that will not interfere with the innocence of youth but yet will simultaneously address more “exposed” youth. Again, please call to discuss if there is any question or concern in your heart or mind about what I will or will not say on a retreat.

Why are I.D.’s teen retreats a mixture of boys and girls?

Though there is great fruit from having groups of just men or just women on retreat together, I also see the importance of teaching teens how to enter into real friendship and how to work together as men and women. These retreats foster conversation about what it is to be human persons and how we are in this battle together…the unrepeatable gifts we bring to the table…how to treat each other as equals and yet how to serve each other well in our complementarity.

St. John Paul II says in the Theology of the Body that “human life is by its nature ‘co-educational’ and its dignity as well as its balance depend at every moment of history and in every place of geographic longitude and latitude” on how we see each other as men and women. My hope is to plant seeds of understanding personhood and thus give young people the sense of working on the same “team”, showing how these lessons apply to later relationships and families.

Are all the I.D. Retreats in one place?

We offer I.D. Retreats in state and national parks throughout the United States. For specific locations see the current list of upcoming I.D. Retreats.

Do you stay in cabins on I.D. Retreats?

I.D. Retreats are typically outdoor camping trips. Normally tents are shared with other participants in the campgrounds of state and national parks. In the case of most winter retreats, we will utilize a lodge or cabins and in the case of the couples retreats, participants can choose between lodging or camping.

Are I.D. Retreats offered year round?

I.D. Retreats are most heavily offered during the summer months, but we plan to incorporate at least one adult retreat during each season, including retreats that incorporate downhill or cross country skiing, winter camping, and fall or spring hiking!

Let us know if you would like to brainstorm a custom retreat for your group over spring break, long weekends, etc. – school breaks are too much of a moving target to plan a generic retreat that is open to all!

What is “basecamp” hiking or canoeing?

“BASECAMP” retreats mean that we will be driving or canoeing to our campsite and setting up there for the duration of our retreat; we will travel to trailheads or canoe from that point daily.

Showers may or may not be available. On retreats that are near water, swimming is normally possible – but bathing with soap/shampoo is not allowed in lakes/streams/etc.

What are “backpacking” retreats?

“BACKPACKING” retreats mean that we will each carry our belongings in backpacks while hiking distances indicated in trip descriptions. On canoe trips the gear will ride in the canoe part of the time but then be carried in backpacks (etc.) across portages by participants. We will typically set up at a new campsite each night.

Showers will not be available (with the possible exception of the start and end of the trip). On retreats that are near water, swimming is normally possible – but bathing with soap/shampoo is not allowed in lakes/streams/etc.

How do participants stay clean during camping retreats?

You may be thinking, “ok, if showers are not available and soap/shampoo are not allowed in lakes, etc. – there is no way I’m going to smell like that for a week!” But let’s talk about this. On some level, participants will have to accept that they will not be sparkling clean during camping retreats (that’s a simple consequence of enjoying the great outdoors). Taking advantage of opportunities to swim will help a great deal but there are also some good tricks to consider:

1) Letting your hair go without washing for a week is actually quite good for it, but there is also a product known as “dry shampoo” available in various salons. It basically absorbs the oils in your hair and you can go at least a week without notice.

2) Bring a washcloth with some texture to scrub over your skin when swimming. In particular, NORWEX brand microfiber body cloths are made to be used with just water – basically wiping everything that would cause odor off your skin. For more details on how they work, go to

On backpacking retreats it is especially helpful to have the ability to clip a wet washcloth on the outside of a backpack; sew a loop onto the corner of the washcloth and bring a small carabiner for that purpose.

NOTE: Into the Deep offers these NORWEX body cloths for purchase upon request (grey with I.D. logo and a small carabiner clip for $10). A good investment, considering the long life of NORWEX products!

Can I bring my cell phone on the retreat?

We ask that you do not bring electronic devices and in fact recommend that you leave them at home to prevent damage. Most areas have unreliable phone coverage and no charging options. Leaders will carry emergency contact information and cell phones.

NOTE to those who use their cell phone as a camera: a group camera will be available for use.

STUDENTS UNDER the AGE of 18: all devices will be collected prior to departure.

ADULTS 18 and UP: if you think you will be tempted to use your devices they can optionally be collected at the start of the retreat with the expectation that they will not be used unless there is an emergency. It is also expected that you will arrange for your absence (out of office replies, etc.) prior to the start of the retreat (not in the van).

How do we make contact if there is an emergency while on retreat?

Each retreat will have slightly different protocol for emergencies, especially due to varying locations. Those who register will receive specific information about that particular location’s protocol – both how an outside party would make contact with a participant and how we will notify an outside party if the emergency is with the participant. If you have particular questions, do not hesitate to contact us directly at 612-518-5490.

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