LLFC 2017<br>Year-in-Review

 

In early December, Laity Lodge Family Camp partnered with an organization called YoungLives, a ministry affiliated with Young Life that focuses on parenting and pregnant teens.

Sixty-five young mothers ages 14-18 and their babies were given the opportunity to spend a weekend at Family Camp with their adult mentors. These moms were able to step away from their heavy burdens to experience a rare and deeply fun and relational time with each other, their mentors, and God.

After the retreat, one of the group coordinators sent the following note: “These teen moms usually feel shame, weight, judgment, responsibility, and a whole lot of heaviness. They constantly feel wrong or that they have been wronged, and because of that they outwardly act and physically look downcast. But at camp they felt comfortable. They felt at home, even though it was a place that literally and figuratively was worlds away from their home. They felt accepted, which is huge for these girls [that] don’t feel accepted anywhere else. They found they were on the same page as others, and on level ground together as they heard the gospel. They felt honored and that they were truly the most important ones there—this weekend was for them. One girl even shared that she was treated like royalty.

“When we started praying in May about this retreat, our goal was to get thirty girls to camp. We had double that amount.”

 

 

These girls and their leaders loved their time in the Canyon so much that they have already confirmed a second retreat in 2018.

The YoungLives retreat is one of a new and growing breed of Partnership Retreats at LLFC—fresh opportunities to work closely with Texas organizations focused on under-resourced or under-served children and families. Family Camp director Cary Hendricks says the goal with Partnership Retreats is “to find people doing great work and ask, ‘How can we help?’”

Four Partnership Retreats were held in 2017 with more in the works for 2018. (You may recall earlier Echoes stories on a collaboration between Good Samaritan Community Services and Family Services of San Antonio or San Angelo’s House of Faith working with Parent University.) LLFC also partnered with SAMMinistries, a San Antonio-based nonprofit that helps families experiencing (or at risk for) homelessness.

Family Camp staff members have been hard at work developing these and similar partnerships while deepening their relationships with long-time alumni and gearing up for a wonderful summer season. They’re fostering a partnering relationship with an Austin organization and recently received a grant to pilot work with parents and children in Kerrville.

Altogether, LLFC welcomed 2,625 campers in 2017 over dozens of retreats. As Cary summed up their efforts, “We are just grateful we get to help as these people want to grow deeper with their families.”

 

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