Go Outside and Play: A Desert Sojourn Retreat

Go Outside and Play: A Desert Sojourn Retreat

MARCH 13 – 16, 2022

Go Outside and Play! with Paddle Pilgrim Dave Ellingson

The GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY retreat will inspire you to get outside, connect with creation, laugh and play more, & follow Jesus into the world.

A retreat to remind you to live life out loud and outdoors.

Dave’s exasperated mom used to tell her antsy son, “Go outside and play!” Maybe we all still need that prompting. This retreat explores the meaning of and puts into practice those wise words.

  • GO… You will deepen your experience of the Great Commission of Jesus and follow him into the world.
  • OUTSIDE… You will go outdoors and experience God’s good creation in the desert, on the water**, and by the pool.
  • PLAY… You will reconnect with your inner child and stretch your heart and mind through playful activities.

Join Dave on his adventures, hear the stories of new friends, and imagine new adventures as you “Go outside and play!”


Sunday, March 13 ~ GO!

  • 1:00p Welcome and Singing
  • Introduction and Share Memories of Childhood
  • Break
  • Introduction of theme, “Get Outside and Play!”
  • 4:00p Free Time
  • 6:00p Dinner
  • 7:30p Wine, Snacks and “Reflections” by the pool

Monday, March 14 ~ OUTSIDE!

  • 7:00a Nature Walk (Prayer Path)
  • 8:00a Breakfast
  • 9:00a Wake up the Day with Singing
  • Caring for and Celebrating Creation in the Great Outdoor Classroom
  • 10:30a Meet the Bus (Parking Lot)
  • Sack Lunch on the Bus
  • 12:00p Desert Belle Narration Cruise on Saguaro Lake
  • Group Photo
  • 1:30p Catch the Bus for Spirit in the Desert
  • 3:00p Small Group Conversation ~ questions provided
  • 4:30p Free Time
  • 5:30p Dinner
  • 7:00p Paddling Epiphanies with Dave the “paddle pilgrim”
  • 8:00p Hospitality

Tuesday, March 15 ~ PLAY!

  • 7:00a Nature Walk (Labyrinth)
  • 8:00a Breakfast
  • 9:00a Wake up the Day with Singing
  • Grace and Growth in the Great Outdoor Cathedral
  • Break
  • Small Groups: Sharing outdoor play activities ~ questions provided
  • 12:00p Lunch
  • 1:00p Open
  • 5:30p Dinner
  • 7:00p Coming Home, a film about Dave’s outdoor adventure on the fjords of Norway
  • 8:00p Refreshments Under the Stars

Wednesday, March 16 ~ GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

  • 7:00a Nature Walk (Islands of Silence)
  • 8:00a Breakfast and Checkout
  • 9:30a Wake up the Day with Singing
  • Go+Outside+Play=Refeshment and Renewal
  • Break
  • Large Group Sharing of Visions of “Going outside and playing” back home
  • 11:00a Closing Worship Outdoors
  • 12:00p Lunch


Sunday – Wednesday, March 13-16, 2022


Price per person:

  • One person, private room : $625 per person
  • Two people, two in a room : $520 per person
  • Three people, three in a room : $435 per person

Price includes: Three days of programming, three nights lodging and 9 meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners) and transportation and ticket to the Desert Belle Narration Cruise on Saguaro Lake.

Guests may arrange with Spirit in the Desert to arrive early and depart late for an extra fee.


Call 480.488.5218 or email info@spiritinthedesert.org to register.

All are welcome to this Desert Sojourn Retreat at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona!

Retreat Leader

Picture of Dave Ellingson, Paddle Pilgrim and Spirit Retreat Leader

Dave Ellingson, the Paddle Pilgrim, has taught courses in spirituality, environmental ethics, human development, and youth ministry at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, Wash. He is a Lutheran pastor, author, Master Gardner, former distance runner and triathlete, and has a Doctorate in Holistic Health. Dave is married and father of five grown children. From his earliest age, Dave’s middle name has been activity! He lives in Edmonds, WA.

Dave Ellingson is the author of seven books, including three Paddle Pilgrim kayak adventures; Say What? A Fresh Look at Old Sayings; Biblical Wisdom for a Digital Age; My Body, My Life; and his latest, Grizz and His Friends, about a big, old bear with lots of friends.