For its first-ever Fall Family Retreat, Inheritance of Hope hosted families from New York, Rhode Island, and Washington state at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark near Lake George. As a Six Flags Friend, Inheritance of Hope offered fun-filled and memory making activities in a setting of beautiful fall foliage. The all-expenses-paid Family Retreat took place October 8-11. The families enjoyed the indoor waterpark, Six Flags Great Escape theme park, a luncheon cruise on Lake George, creative activities for the kids, and a date night. More importantly, they created lifelong memories, built friendships, and grew a community of support during the event.
All of the attending families had a great experience. In their own words:
"Inheritance of Hope has already given me the strength and hope to go on. We know we are not alone." -- Amy Deforest, New York
"Every volunteer was wonderful with our children." -- Heidi Simoes, Rhode Island
"All the planning was top-notch . . . we felt spoiled and pampered. I cannot think of one single thing that could have made this retreat any better. What an absolute blessing this trip has been. I felt something special happening between people . . . I anticipate forever friendships will continue to bloom." -- Melissa Ferris, Washington
"Everyone has been wonderful! You all made us feel a sense of peace and serenity. Keep doing what you are doing so we know other families will benefit from this." -- Tim Deforest, New York
"I just cannot say enough about just how amazing, how well-thought out, and how organized the entire retreat was. You knew exactly the elements that would be most therapeutic, most restorative, most relaxing, and most healing for us." Anne Thrush, Maryland
"Seeing my boys have fun and being able to have a vacation with others who know what you are going through is priceless!" Pamela Ware, Ohio
"This whole experience was so wonderful. Everyone involved went above and beyond to make us all so comfortable and truly cared about." Dana Drouin, New Jersey
Inheritance of Hope recently concluded its all-expenses-paid Winter Family Retreat for families with children under 18 who have a parent with a life-threatening illness. The event was hosted at Willow Lake Cottages near Fishkill, New York, from February 26th to March 1st.
“This was a unique opportunity for a family to come to New York and create fun, lasting memories together,” said Deric Milligan, Executive Director of Inheritance of Hope. “They were able to experience things here that they cannot at home, which should help the memories of this weekend stand out for years to come.” An attending ill parent affirmed, “This has been a big positive experience for my whole family.”
A professional counselor was available throughout the weekend, and there was plenty of time to relax and create memories of their own. While the Retreat was filled with big activities for families, it was the special touches that made the Retreat memorable.
“We had a date night for the parents; delicious meals catered to the cabins; a video camera on hand to tape personal messages from the parents to their children; and even a handmade photo album complete with photos taken during the retreat,” said Milligan. “We focused on having fun, creating precious, lifelong memories, and building a sense of community.”
One important way Inheritance of Hope allows these families to enjoy the Retreat without worry is by providing the experience free of charge. Transportation, lodging, meals, and activities are all paid for by Inheritance of Hope through tax-deductible donations made by individuals from throughout the country. The families Inheritance of Hope serves must deal with high medical costs and decreased earnings, so an all-expenses-paid vacation is a true blessing for them.
We are planning multiple Family Retreats for the summer of 2009. Many more families can benefit from these events!
Our inaugural Family Retreat for families living with a terminally ill parent took place just outside of Lake George, New York, from August 7-10, 2008 at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge. The event included a day at Six Flags, a morning of relaxed white-water rafting, a dinner cruise (with fireworks!) on Lake George, a private Sunday morning service for Inheritance of Hope families, time for parents to talk with other parents while children enjoy activities together, a date night for parents, and plenty of time for each family to create memories of their own. Transportation, lodging, all meals and activities -- everything! -- was paid by Inheritance of Hope through donations from our supporters.
The first Family Retreat was a huge success! These are a few of the comments made by Retreat participants:
"This was an amazing experience for me. You thought of everything. I have been so overwhelmed, and for the past few days all the stress was removed."
"It was wonderful to meet other people dealing with similar situations . . . it is easy to feel very alone."
"It was just a great treat to have a chance to get away with the kids and not have to worry about anything -- amazing!"
"We wouldn't have been able to afford it or have the energy to plan it all out."
"The schedule was perfect -- I felt like I could rest at any time and that all the staff and activities were totally flexible to my needs."
Click play to watch a slideshow highlighting the Summer Family Retreat.
Clickhere to watch testimonials from the Summer Family Retreat.