Retreats & Getaways

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

Retreats & Getaways

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

A Little Slice of Heaven...

Family Retreats offer a safe and accepting Christ-centered environment for individuals affected by disability and their families making it a little slice of heaven for everyone! 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 activities with each camper while parents and caregivers attend programming worry free! Each Family Retreat is packed with exciting adventures for the whole family.

Types of Retreats and Getaways

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

Joni and Friends In-Person Event Safety Protocols

The safety of our families, volunteers, and STMs is of utmost importance to Joni and Friends. The new realities we are living with make Family Retreat even more important to those we serve. Joni and Friends is committed to safety and will comply with local and state phasing requirements. To provide our families and volunteers increased confidence, Joni and Friends will implement the following in-person protocols to provide a safe environment for participation.

While we will follow every protocol available, there is no guarantee of a virus-free retreat. Joni and Friends cannot assume responsibility for someone getting sick as viruses can be carried symptom-free and undetectable.

Each location will have slightly different state and local requirements and these 6 categories will be addressed at each event. (A full listing of available protections specific to your retreat will be available through local retreat directors.)

  1. Protection (PPE)—Safety Protection Equipment includes masks, gloves, forehead thermometers, and cleaning supplies.
  2. Onsite Testing—Testing will be done on site using forehead thermometers and contracted services.
  3. Pre-Event Requirements—Joni and Friends will require medical certifications pre-event. You can contact your local area for these requirements.
  4. Social Distancing—While a big part of Family Retreat is fellowship, we will include procedures to limit the number of people and their proximity through alternating schedules for large group gatherings.
  5. Event Specific Protections—Each event will comply with their facility’s protocol for group gatherings, interaction, and cleanliness.
  6. Options for Participation—Options will be offered for specific programming to allow families to opt out of activities they might be uncomfortable with for safety reasons. These will be replaced with individual activities or free time.

Building relationships and finding community with other people in a safe Christ-centered environment is what Family Retreat is all about, and we look forward to serving you this summer.

Information for Families

Info 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 of our Family Retreats are 3-5 days but 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. The Personal Care Attendant will need to fill out their own application.

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.

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. You may only attend one retreat per year. 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, you will receive an email with next steps.

We recommend registering as early as possible. Applications open on different dates based on when the retreat occurs. Applications 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 accommodations 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?

No payment is due until 3 weeks prior to the retreat.

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 donations or payments except in extreme cases. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Family Retreat Department at FamilyRetreats@joniandfriends.org or 818-707-5664.

Information for Volunteers

What to expect as a Volunteer

What exactly will I do?

Most volunteers will serve as friend to a child or adult with disability. 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 of our 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 Pricing Retreats Getaways

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, you will receive an email with next steps.

We recommend registering as early as possible. Applications open on different dates based on when the retreat occurs. Applications 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?

No payment is due until 3 weeks prior to the retreat.

Is there any financial assistance?

Although some volunteers pay their way personally, we highly encourage volunteers 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 assistance to help you fundraise like your online personal page after your application has been approved.

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 or payments except in extreme cases. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Family Retreat Department at FamilyRetreats@joniandfriends.org or 818-707-5664.

Ministry Gallery

Do you have a question or comment?

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