Meanwhile, at Headwaters in the Frio River Canyon, Laity Lodge Family Camp in 2018 hosted 2,350 people from 575 households over the course of 20 weekend and weeklong retreats. Those retreats make space for everyone who comes, returners and newcomers alike. Family Camp has a lot of returners (as you may know if you’ve tried to register recently!), but it tries to open itself up to new families, too.
“This mix provides a great atmosphere of shared community, vibrant learning, growth, and excitement for what the Lord is doing in the lives of families through LLFC,” says Cary Hendricks, the camp’s senior director.
The learning is not just on behalf of the families—LLFC is doing a lot of learning of its own as it creates new retreat models. One highlight last year was a retreat combining two groups that normally might not intermingle: Austin Voices for Education and Youth along with Covenant Presbyterian Church of Austin. Cary says the retreat was designed to combine families of varying ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The effort “gave families who wouldn’t normally spend a weekend together the opportunity to share the [Family Camp] experience.”
The parents in attendance that weekend may not have shared much in terms of cultural and social backgrounds, but they did have something in common: they had all graduated from Raising Highly Capable Kids, an 11-week parenting class put together by nonprofit Rezilient Kidz and offered to partner organizations with the Foundation’s support. In the last couple years, Family Camp has worked with several partners in Central and South Texas to make the parenting class available, with each class culminating in a weekend at Family Camp.
Last year, the Family Camp team also catalyzed a Raising Highly Capable Kids parenting class in their hometown of Kerrville, hosting 31 parents in the weekly class throughout fall.
With the endorsement of Kerrville ISD and area churches, the class was held in the Starkey Elementary cafeteria while Impact Christian Fellowship lent volunteers and Sozo House catered dinner. The class was facilitated by volunteer parents (all certified by Rezilient Kidz) from Impact Christian Fellowship and Starkey alike.
With the fall semester such a success, the class is being held again in the spring—in Kerrville as well as neighboring towns Ingram and Hunt.All these efforts are our way of ensuring that the mission of Family Camp does not end with the retreat. We work with families in order to transform communities,” Cary says. “As these homes are impacted by this work, the effects are going to ripple throughout entire neighborhoods.”