Frequently Asked Questions

For Retreat Families:

How does my family qualify to attend a retreat? 

Any family that has a child (18 years or younger) that is on treatment for cancer or has been off treatment for less than one year is eligible to apply. We encourage immediate family members (limited to 2 adults and siblings under 21 years old) who reside in the home of the child on treatment to attend a Lighthouse retreat.  If you are a single parent, you may bring another adult or older sibling who has played a significant role during your journey with childhood cancer.   

How do I apply? 

Visit the Retreat Families page, read and agree to the guidelines and complete an online application. 

Children must receive medical consent from their oncology health care team, consenting that the child is well enough to attend the retreat. Once a family is accepted, they are responsible for submitting the consent form within 30 days of attending a retreat. 

What is the cost to my family? 

The cost of the retreat (housing, meals, all “planned” activities) is free to you. However, you must pay for your own travel to and from the retreat. There is a travel assistance scholarship available for families who are unable to attend a retreat due to travel costs.  If you note on your retreat application that assistance is needed, you will receive a separate travel application upon acceptance to a retreat.  

Where will my family stay during the retreat?  

All retreats are located in seaside communities/resorts on or near the beach.  Most of these communities have condos where families are housed during the week.  Each condo is equipped with a full kitchen and laundry facilities are available.  We do have a few retreat locations where families stay in homes with another family.  If this is the case, each family will have their own bedroom(s) and bathroom(s) but will share the common areas of the home.  We make every attempt to house families with similar age children or diagnosis.  Lifelong friendships have formed during these retreats.    

What about meals for my family?  

All meals are provided for your family during the retreat.  Majority of these meals are catered and eaten together as a group (Retreat Families & Family Partners) at a central location.  We do eat a lot of our meals outside, weather permitting under a tent.  Parents do have one night where they go out to dinner together as a group at one of the local restaurants while the kids have a big birthday party.  If anyone in your family has any food allergies, please note this on your application.  We make every attempt to provide alternative options for these families.   

What does a week at Lighthouse Family Retreat look like? 

The retreat begins with your arrival on Monday evening, and continues with environments created to allow time for fun, time to reconnect as a family and find hope in God. Each morning starts with breakfast and a devotional time, called Morning Watch. After Morning Watch, parents will have the opportunity to connect with other parents in a safe, facilitated environment called Common Ground. While parents are away, kids will play! Kids will be separated into groups by age and gender for a time of fun in the sun! 

After lunch it is time to Conch Out. Relax, take a nap, swim in the pool, or build sandcastles on the beach! Each night is a programmed activity designed for fun- from a parents’ night out and an UNbirthday party, to a luau, to a talent show like you’ve never seen before! 

The retreat ends on Saturday morning by 9 am with our Lighthouse See ya laters.  At Lighthouse, we all come together at the beginning of the week as separate families from different areas of the country but we all leave as one big family.  So Saturday morning gives everyone the opportunity to not say Goodbye but instead “see ya later!”  

For Family Partners:

How old do my children have to be to serve at Lighthouse?

We strongly recommend that children wait until they are at least 5 before they serve with Lighthouse Family Retreat. We believe that young children have a harder time understanding the “others first” mentality that is essential to serving our families. We also believe that by the time a child is 5 years old, he or she is old enough to play independently and free up mom and dad to serve to their best ability!

How can I know who has donated towards my Retreat Support?

Your online giving page is a great reference for who has given to your campaign, and we highly recommend using this resource as your main fundraising source. However, if someone gives via cash or check and it is sent directly to the Lighthouse office, you will receive an update from your Family Partner Lead weekly, starting 8 weeks out from your retreat. It will not appear on your personal fundraising page.

How, exactly do we serve the families?

We will serve the Retreat Families, those living through childhood cancer, in many ways during the week of the retreat. We want to create an environment where they can leave the worries of childhood cancer behind them and rest, restore their relationships, experience joy and find hope in God. We do this by taking care of and serving all of their meals and watching children while parents enjoy a time called Common Ground. We will clean their homes, and do their laundry, so that we can free them up to enjoy time with one another.

What if I cannot attend the retreat?

While we hope that everyone can attend the retreat, as we need a specific amount of Family Partners on each retreat to serve the families, we understand that illness and family emergencies may occur. However, if you need to drop out of a retreat due to unexpected illness or family emergency, you will still be expected to pay the remaining support for your family’s fundraising minimum. If you find that you will not be able to attend the retreat, please let us know at least 60 days in advance so that we may replace your spot. We ask that you commit to stay the whole week of the retreat as well.

How can I apply to serve as a Family Partner?

You can apply on our website. Visit the Family Partner page for more information.

When can I apply to serve?

For our 2018 retreats, registration opens to the general public on Thursday, January 4 at 9AM. Spots do fill quickly, so be sure to apply soon after retreats open!

 How much does it cost? Will I need to fundraise?

Once you are accepted to attend a retreat, you will need to fundraise to attend Lighthouse Family Retreat, as it is a domestic mission trip and retreat families attend the retreat for free. All Family Partners are encouraged to fundraise $5,000, which is the cost to send one family living through childhood cancer to the beach for a week. At a minimum, adults over the age of 18 are required to raise $1,200 per adult, $750 per student ages 13-17, and $250 per child 12 and under. Lighthouse will provide fundraising materials and tools to support you along your fundraising journey.

How will I be prepared to serve?

You will receive a manual and you will be required to attend two pre-retreat trainings. If you live outside of the metro Atlanta area, arrangements will be made to ensure that you are equipped and ready for your retreat. You will have the support of a Family Partner Lead, who is in a volunteer leader for each retreat, and the Lighthouse staff. The Family Partner Training is required for every Family Partner, even if you’ve attended before.

What does a week look like serving a family living through childhood cancer?

A week at Lighthouse is exhausting and fun! As a Family Partner, your job is to ensure that families receive the best retreat experience possible. Family Partners will help serve and prepare meals for retreat attendees, do laundry and clean the homes of retreat families, lead a Flip Flop group for retreat kids during the morning so parents can reconnect in Common Ground, to name a few! Family Partners will work hard, play hard, pray hard, and build lifelong relationships. Family Partners commit to a week of prayer and service, while joyfully participating in each retreat environment.

How old do I have to be to serve by myself?

Adults 18 years or older can attend a retreat by themselves without an adult present. Exceptions are made for student groups, which require a 3:1 student to adult over 21 ratio. For more information about serving with a student group, please email Scott Wade at scott@lighthousefamilyretreat.org

Where will I be staying?

Lighthouse stays in resort and vacation communities along the Gulf Coast in Florida and along the Outerbanks in North Carolina. These communities are vacation homes or condos. In order to be good stewards of our resources, Family Partners will be staying in units with other Family Partners. Adults are always guaranteed a bed, but children are not. Every family will have access to their own bathroom, but the house or condo common areas will be shared by other families. Children are asked to bring sleeping bags and/or air mattresses. Retreat Families will have their own unit, with the exception of large vacation homes.

How will I know whom I will be serving?

Each Family Partner family is paired with one Retreat Family. While we try to keep the ratio of one family to another, we sometimes have to assign more than one Family Partner unit to serve a Retreat Family. This information, as well as who you will be rooming with, and what teams you will be serving on, will be given to you once you arrive at the beach.

How many people are on a retreat?

We try to serve between 9 and 14 Retreat Families per retreat. In order to provide a special service experience for our families we have no more than 30 adult Family Partners and their respective children to serve the families. This means that a retreat will have anywhere from 100 – 180 people present.

Can I add someone (a friend or relative) to come with my family after I have been accepted?

You may add a family member or family friend to your group on a retreat if they are under 18 years of age within 60 days of the retreat, within reasonable size for your group. After 60 days no more additions can be made. By adding a child or teen to your group, you accept responsibility for them in regards to guardianship on the retreat as well as fundraising minimums. You and the child’s parent will be asked to fill out a Temporary Guardianship Agreement.


Tax ID: 58-2509728 Ph: 678.290.2955   •   info@lighthousefamilyretreat.org
4470 Chamblee-Dunwoody Rd, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30338