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

Family Retreats and International Family Retreats offer a haven for special needs families. Here, families are cared for, encouraged, and rejuvenated in a Christ-centered, fully accessible camp environment. Each Retreat site provides worship, teaching, fun, age-appropriate activities and cultivates meaningful connections with families who understand the challenges of life with disability.

Short Term Missionaries (STMs) volunteer to serve families affected by disability with Christ-like encouragement and friendship. As an STM, you’ll receive on-site training – no prior experience required!

Information for Families

What exactly does a Family Retreat look like?

We value each person as created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. The Family Retreat program specifically focuses on families, whether they are intact, blended or single-parent families. To accomplish these 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.

Family Retreats offer a safe and accepting environment where you'll 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 age appropriate worship, teaching, crafts, and recreation. Adults will enjoy Christ-centered worship, teaching, and practical seminars that address family life and issues related to life with a disability. Marriages will be encouraged and strengthened as to model Christ's relationship with the church. 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!

*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 your understanding in helping us preserve the community of Family Retreat.

What assistance will my family receive once we're at Retreat?

A caring and trained Short Term Missionary (STM) will serve your family throughout the week. If you have a child with a disability, your STM will attend all age-related activities with him or her, allowing you to participate in adult programming and to make the week restful and enjoyable. Each STM has undergone a thorough screening, background check, and has completed our training course. STMs also assist in the children and youth programs, recreation and crafts, hospitality, and other program areas.

Do STMs provide personal and/or medical care?

No, STMs do not provide personal or medical care. If your family requires such care, please bring an attendant with you and include the attendant when completing the online registration. The Retreat sites are accessible, and we do our best to meet the needs of each family regarding accommodations, diet, and other requirements that you indicate on your registration.

How much does it cost and is there aid?

The cost of camp varies from location to location and is listed on our current schedule along with the Retreat contact information. Please contact the Area Ministry operating the Family Retreat you are interested in attending with any questions.

Joni and Friends will only provide refunds for cancellations due to an emergency.

Is there financial assistance available?

Many families attend Family Retreat with the help of their church, friends, family, or an organization. Families who seek this support often discover continuing sources of assistance that last far beyond their time at Family Retreat. Joni and Friends offers partial scholarships that cover the registration costs when combined with agency, family, friend, and church contributions.

Apply for a Scholarship

How long is the Retreat?

The length of each Retreat varies by location. Please visit the current schedule to find out more information.

Can my family attend more than one Retreat?

Families may only attend one Joni and Friends Family Retreat per year to enable as many families as possible to experience Family Retreat.

When should I apply?

We recommend registering as far in advance as possible. Although the Retreats are held during the summer months, many reach capacity early in the year. Applications are accepted until a Retreat is filled, or up to two weeks before the Retreat begins.

Choose a Retreat and Apply Today!

Information for Volunteers

What exactly will I do as a Short Term Missionary (STM)?

Most STMs serve as a companion to a child or adult with a disability. In this role, you job is to be their friend for the week, giving the gift of your time and love. You’ll join your assigned family for meals and a wide variety of program activities such as swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding, and climbing walls. Following afternoon free time, you will rejoin your family for evening activities.

STMs may also serve in a specific program area leading or assisting with art, recreation activities, music, or youth programs. In this role, you will lead the program during the day and evening with a break in the afternoon.

What are the requirements to serve as an STM?

You must be at least 17 years old and a committed Christian with a desire to serve families affected by disability. You’ll function as a flexible team player who offers friendship, support, and general assistance to help families get the most out of their week. You must be able to serve the entire length of the Retreat and attend the prior training. (If you are under 17, please, check with your Retreat Director for other service opportunities.)

*STMs do not provide personal or medical care. Families that need this type of care will bring their own personal attendant or nurse.

Will I receive any training?

Yes, onsite training occurs before families are due to arrive – no prior experience is required! This time of training builds a team atmosphere and helps STMs understand their specific roles. Ongoing support from experienced leaders is also available throughout the Retreat.

When should I apply?

We recommend applying as early as possible. We accept STM applications until all STM positions are filled for the Retreat, or up to two weeks before the Retreat begins.

Choose a Retreat and Apply Today!

What is the cost to be an STM?

The cost to be an STM varies from Retreat to Retreat. Our current schedule provides Retreat costs and contact information. The listed cost includes lodging and meals from the time STMs must be at the Retreat site until they leave. STMs are responsible for their own transportation costs.

Is financial support available?

Although some STMs pay their way personally, many choose to raise financial support. STMs often find that their local church, family members, or friends are willing to support their service at Family Retreat. If you choose to raise support, Joni and Friends will provide you with tools to help!

Joni and Friends will only provide refunds for cancellations due to an emergency.

Apply Today!

Ministry Gallery

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