Family Retreats

“If you want to experience joy, you’ve got to come to Family Retreat. It’s an amazing gift.”

Retreats for Special Needs Families

Joni and Friends Family Retreats offer a safe and accepting Christ-centered environment for individuals affected by disability and their families. At Family Retreat, families are cared for, encouraged, and rejuvenated in an accessible camp environment. Each Family Retreat provides inclusive worship, Bible-based teaching, age-appropriate fun activities, and cultivates meaningful connections with other families. A loving and trained volunteer will attend all age-related activities with each camper while parents and caregivers attend programming worry free! Each Family Retreat is packed with exciting adventures for the whole family.

Are you are a family interested in attending a Family Retreat? Learn more about what Family Retreat is like!

Are you interested in serving at a Family Retreat? Volunteers serve families affected by disability through encouragement and friendship. Learn more about volunteering at Family Retreat.

Types of Retreats

Joni and Friends has several different types of Family Retreat to meet the different needs of families. Learn more about each type of retreat.

Traditional Family Retreat

Our traditional retreats are designed for all ages and welcome a wide range of disabilities and conditions. Each day, there will be exciting age-appropriate worship, teaching, crafts, and recreation. Parents and caregivers will enjoy Christ-centered worship, teaching, and practical seminars that address family life and issues related to life with a disability. The afternoons are free to relax or participate in a variety of optional activities. Evenings are full of family-oriented activities like talent shows, camp fires, concerts, carnivals, and more!

Some of our retreats are designed for specific age ranges; typically, either adult (over the age of 18 years old) or children (under the age of 18 years old). Any specifications will be noted in the event description.

Urban Family Retreat

This type of retreat is uniquely designed for families who live or attend church in designated city areas.  Families will experience a place where all cultures, backgrounds, and life circumstances, can step away, and draw near to the Lord. Families will build meaningful connections with other families who understand the challenges of urban life with a disability.

Single Parent Family Getaway

Single Parent Family Getaway is specifically designed to provide biblical encouragement, truth, and rest to single parents with children affected by disability!

Wounded Warrior Getaway

Specifically designed for American servicemen and women who have visible and invisible wounds as a result of war. These getaways are a place for respite and spiritual refreshment. Wounded Warrior Getaways also serve the spouse, children, and parents of the warrior; providing a wide range of accessible family activities, powerful speakers, one-on-one networking, and time in God's Word.

Marriage Getaway

Whether your marriage is affected by the disability of a spouse or child, Marriage Getaways offer encouragement, fun, and fellowship. Couples will enjoy biblical teaching, worship, professional portrait, candlelit dinner, dance party, and an opportunity for free marriage counseling.

Information for Families

What is Family Retreat?

The Family Retreat program specifically focuses on families, whether they are intact, blended, or single-parent families. We value each person as created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. To accomplish our objectives, we strive to create an environment at each Family Retreat that is Christ-centered and consistent with biblical values that reinforce the family unit.

What will we do at Family Retreat?

Joni and Friends Family Retreats offer a safe and accepting environment where you will fellowship with other families who face similar challenges, build lasting memories, and renew your hope in God. Each camp or conference center has its own unique facilities, so Family Retreat is packed with exciting adventures for the whole family.

Each day there will be exciting programs that include age-appropriate worship, teaching, crafts, and recreation. Parents and caregivers will also enjoy practical seminars that address family life and issues related to life with a disability, small group discussion, and relaxing activities. During free time, there will be a variety of fun accessible events that might include swimming, arts and crafts, sports and games, horseback riding, and more! Evening activities are designed for the whole family to participate and may include a dance, outdoor bbq, carnival, bonfire and s’mores, and of course, a Talent Show.

What about my typical children?

Most Family Retreats offer specific programming for typical siblings. That might consist of separate teaching times, small group discussions, or additional fun activities just for them!

How long is Family Retreat?

Most retreats are 3-5 days. The length varies by location. Please visit the current schedule to see the exact dates of each retreat.

Will we have help at Family Retreat?

A caring and trained volunteer will serve your family throughout the week. Your assigned volunteer will attend all age-related activities with your child affected by disability; allowing you to participate in programming and to make the week restful and enjoyable. Each volunteer has undergone a thorough screening, background check, and has completed our training. We have additional volunteers to assist in each age-group program, recreation, arts and crafts, and more. There are plenty of friends to support your family during the week.

Do volunteers provide personal and/or medical care?

No. Volunteers do not provide personal or medical care. If your family requires such care, it may be necessary to bring a Personal Care Attendant with you. Please include the Personal Care Attendant when completing the online registration.

Can you accommodate my special requests (e.g., accommodations, diets, equipment, etc.)?

We will do our best — to meet the needs of each family regarding accommodations, diets, and other requirements that you indicate on your registration. You can discuss any special requests with your Retreat Director.

2014 Bonclarken Family Retreat

Application and Pricing

The success of a Family Retreat depends heavily on the carefully nurtured Christian community that allows families to feel blessed and supported. For this reason, Joni and Friends reserves the right to accept families and/or assign accommodations based on our ability to meet the needs of all families in a safe Christian environment. Thank you for understanding in helping us preserve the community of Family Retreat.

Can I go to any retreat that is open?

Yes. You may attend any retreat that is open, but Joni and Friends recommends attending the retreat closest to your home. This way you will build friendships with other families, volunteers, and churches nearby.

How and when should I apply?

Visit the Upcoming Retreats page to choose a retreat and apply online. Once your application has been received, the retreat staff will contact you with next steps.

We recommend registering as early as possible. Although most Family Retreats are scheduled during the summer, registration opens in January and many retreats reach capacity early in the year. Registration for each retreat will close when the retreat is full or one month before retreat.

Can my family attend more than one Family Retreat?

No. Families may only attend one Joni and Friends Family Retreat per year. This enables as many families as possible to experience Family Retreat

How much does it cost and what is included in the price?

The retreat cost varies by event location. You can find the estimated retreat cost for each specific retreat on the schedule or event page.

The estimated retreat cost includes all accommodation and meals while you are at retreat, program materials, and certain fees. Please note: the cost does not include your transportation to and from the retreat site.

When are my payments due?

A $50 non-refundable deposit will be due at the time of application to hold your spot. 50% of your costs are due two-months before the retreat. And your final payment is due one-month before the retreat.

Your deposit will be applied to your retreat costs.

Is there any financial assistance?

Many families attend Family Retreat with the help of their church, friends, family, or other organizations. Families who prayerfully seek this support often discover continuing sources of assistance that last beyond their time at Family Retreat. Joni and Friends does offer some partial scholarships. Please contact your specific Retreat Director to discuss financial assistance.

What if I need to cancel?

All gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by federal law. Our policy is to apply donations designated to a specific ministry program/outreach. Donations exceeding the cost of an outreach will be directed to the general fund. Joni and Friends does not refund registration fees or donations except in extreme cases. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Family Retreat Department atFamilyRetreats@joniandfriends.org or 818-707-5664.

Information for Volunteers

What exactly will I do?

Most volunteers will serve as friend to a child or adult with disability as a Short-Term Missionary (STM). In this role, your job is to be their friend for the week, giving the gift of your time and love. You will join your assigned camper for meals, program activities, and free time activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding, and climbing walls. After an afternoon break, you will rejoin your camper and their family for evening activities.

Volunteers may also serve in a specific program area such as children, youth, young adult, arts & crafts, recreation, or music. In this role, you will assist the leader during the scheduled time and participate in all camp events.

What are the requirements to serve? Can I serve if I'm under the age of 18?

You do not need to be a professional to be a part of the team! Whether you are a college-aged student or a grandparent, you will serve a vital role at Family Retreat. Volunteers are simply committed Christians that have a desire to serve families affected by disability. You must be able to serve the entire length of the retreat and attend all required training.

If you are under age 18, please contact the Retreat Director for service opportunities.

Will I receive any training?

Yes. No prior experience is required. Training will be provided on disability etiquette, behavior response, a theology of suffering, etc. Ongoing support from experienced leaders is also available throughout retreat.

How long is Family Retreat?

Most Family Retreats are 3-5 days. As a volunteer, you may be required to attend training sessions before retreat and/or arrive one day before families.

Application and Pricing

Can I serve at more than one Family Retreat?

Yes! Please contact your Retreat Director to discuss serving at multiple Family Retreats.

How and when should I apply?

Visit the Upcoming Retreats page to choose a retreat and apply online. Once your application has been received, the Retreat staff will contact you with next steps.

We recommend registering as early as possible. Although most Family Retreats are scheduled during the summer, registration opens in January and many retreats reach capacity early in the year. Registration for each retreat will close when the retreat is full or one month before retreat.

How much does it cost and what is included in the price?

The retreat cost varies by event location. You can find the estimated retreat cost for each specific retreat on the schedule or event page.

The estimated retreat cost includes accommodation, meals, program materials, training materials, and certain fees. Please note: the cost does not include your transportation to and from the retreat site.

When are my payments due?

A $50 non-refundable deposit will be due at the time of application to hold your spot. 50% of your costs are due two-months before the retreat. And your final payment is due one-month before the retreat.

Your deposit will be applied to your retreat costs.

Is there any financial assistance?

Although some volunteers pay their way personally, many choose to raise financial support. Volunteers often find that their local church, family, friends, and other organizations are willing to support their service at Family Retreat. Joni and Friends will provide you with the tools to help you fundraise.

What if I need to cancel?

All gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by federal law. Our policy is to apply donations designated to a specific ministry program/outreach. Donations exceeding the cost of an outreach will be directed to the general fund. Joni and Friends does not refund donations except in extreme cases. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Family Retreat Department at FamilyRetreats@joniandfriends.org or 818-707-5664.

Additional Questions? Please contact your Retreat Director or the Family Retreat Department at FamilyRetreats@joniandfriends.org or 818-707-5664.

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