Joel had a lot of trouble with the concept of a "church family retreat". He wanted to know what we were trying to get away from. Steve and I were really looking forward to it. I had heard of family camps, but never a family retreat. And I had never been on either. This was a welcome way to spend our Labor Day weekend, before the kids had to start back to school.
We went to a retreat center in Auburn - less than a hour away from our house. It was a beautiful, rustic setting but it had plenty of modern conveniences. We stayed in a building with our meeting room in the middle and individual rooms in wings off each side. Each room had a queen bed and bunk beds as well as a private bath. They arranged the rooms according to ages of kids, so people with babies were grouped at the end, then people with slightly older kids, etc. It worked really well. It wasn't noisy at sleep time but the kids had their friends nearby. Of course, with all of the activities going on, we weren't in the rooms very much.
We had a speaker for the adults who discussed apologetics with us. His name is Hank Hanegraaff and he is the host of The Bible Answer Man Show. He had some topics that he presented like lectures, but there were several sessions of Q&A, too. He was also available for questions during free time and meal times, too. He also brought one of his 12 children with him. His 8-year-old got along great with our kids, and they were almost always together.
The kids had their own program during the adult lecture times. The people who ran the VBS the boys attended came to the retreat to lead the kids in lessons, crafts, and games. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the boys came home with the cutest tie-dye shirts and picture frames.
There was also lots of free time built into the schedule and a family campfire night. So, we got to have lots of fun together, too. The guys enjoyed the swimming pool while I napped. We all rode go-karts together. The boys spent a lot of time on the playground. There was even a few minutes of disc golf fun one day. Most of my pics from the weekend are of our free time. Some of them can be seen here.
This retreat weekend was a first for our family, but one that we are looking forward to repeating next year!
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