Cart 0
March Newsletter Banners.png


We’ve said it before and we are going to say it again, 2018 was one of our best years yet! During the 2018 retreat season we hosted 18 retreats full of; rest for a mother that desperately needed it, joy for a child fighting for their life, restoration for a family just barely holding it together, and hope found in our Heavenly Father. This past year, 196 families were served on retreat by 1,208 Family Partners. Our Family Partners spent countless hours serving families by doing their laundry, carrying their plates at mealtime, and by being the hands and feet of Jesus all week long. We are so thankful for you! Without you, we could not strengthen families that desperately need to “feel like family” again.

The best it yet to come!


20 Years in the sand


In 2000, Lighthouse hosted the first retreat for six Retreat Families in Tybee Island, Georgia. Over the years Lighthouse has grown to serve thousands of families with the help of tens of thousands of volunteers. Unfortunately, the demand to attend a retreat as a Retreat Family has surpassed the capacity we are able to serve. In 2018, there were over 150 families on the waitlist that we were not able to give a week of rest, joy, restoration, and hope. At Lighthouse, we have a goal to End the Wait. Families living through childhood cancer do enough waiting: waiting for a diagnosis, waiting for results, waiting to hear, waiting for relief, waiting to hear the words “cancer free”. We want to eliminate as much waiting as we can and that starts with the waitlist.

In 2019, we are one step closer to ending the wait!

In 2018, we had an outpouring of support from our community and an increase in demand to serve as a Family Partner volunteer. For 2019, we have increased the opportunities for you to join us and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our team is confident due to this outpouring of support to increase our capacity of families we serve during the retreat season by increasing our number of retreats. We could not be more excited for the opportunity that God is bringing to Lighthouse Family Retreat. FOR OUR 20TH RETREAT SEASON WE WILL HOST 22 RETREATS! This is the most retreats we have ever been able to execute. These 22 retreats mean that we have the opportunity and privilege to strengthen up to 264 families with a child living through cancer!

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." -Deuteronomy 31:8



Welcome to the Team

Internal growth within the Lighthouse organization has been essential as we increase our number of retreats and families we can serve per year. This growth allows us to better fulfill our mission of strengthening every family living through childhood cancer that applies to attend a retreat. Last year was pivotal in expanding and strengthening across the organization. Our Executive Director, Chris Woodruff, and our board have established a strategic plan necessary for growth based on the three critical departments: Retreat Operations, Partner & Leadership Development, and Development & Marketing. Each department has experienced growth in the past year that has set up our organization for success.

The Retreat Operations team saw promotions and growth in 2018. Christy Richards, Retreat Operations Manager, was promoted from part-time to full-time in a new role. She now oversees the logistics of the 22 retreats Lighthouse will host this year. Anne Davis, Retreat Operations Coordinator, was hired to work alongside Christy. Anne first volunteered for Lighthouse in 2012 and was back to serve 3 times before joining the team. Christy and Anne will make sure that all 3,500 Retreat Families and Family Partners have everything they need to serve and experience rest, joy, restoration and hope this year on retreat! In addition to the new hire of Anne, Lisa Apple joined the team part-time as Retreat Family Coordinator to work alongside Julie Fesefeldt, Retreat Family Manager. Together they focus on relationships with Retreat Families. Lisa will work with Julie in our Florida office. Lisa is a nurse who volunteered as a medical lead during the 2018 retreat season.

In 2018, we introduced the Partner & Leader Development team. Jennifer Ward, VP of Partner & Leader Development, joined our team with a decade of experience from 410 Bridge developing church partnerships. Michele LaRotonda, Partner & Leader Communications Coordinator, is the most recent addition to our Lighthouse team. We are glad to have both of them on our team, along side Clint Perry, as they build this new team that is focused on establishing and growing existing church partnerships.

The Development & Marketing team added two new team members at the beginning of 2018. Steve Knudsen, VP of Development, has had 25 years of ministry development experience. Katelyn DeVos, Marketing & Development Coordinator, oversees all ministry communications, social media and grant writing. Katelyn first attended Lighthouse as a student at Berry College and loves continuing her career promoting the ministry. Adam Tomberlin was recently promoted to Development Director in recognition of his outstanding service to Lighthouse over the past 2 years.

With this incredible team, we are confident in our ability to successfully host 22 retreats during 2019. We are excited to continue growing as an organization and could not do so without the support of the Lighthouse community. Because of your support, we have been able to add the necessary skills to our team needed to strengthen more families living through childhood cancer. Please continue to pray for our team as we embark on our largest retreat season ever!


Building our leaders  


In January, we gathered with over 100 retreat leaders to share the vision for 2019 and to prepare them for what is to come. This two-day event consisted of leaders of all types: Kitchen Leads, Family Partner Leads, Common Ground Leads, Host & Worship Leads, Medical Leads, and church group leaders. The weekend was full of interactive speakers, including Jenny Boyett who led our leaders through Kathleen Edelman's new book "I Said This, You Heard That." This presentation and discussion allowed the group to better understand their personal temperament and how to better serve with those of different temperaments.

The weekend consisted of many speakers and roundtable discussions and concluded with breakouts for each leader type. The goal of the weekend was to better equip our leaders for the retreat season and to discuss with them how they can best maximize their role as a leader. Our weekend focused on the bible verse Romans 12:11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” This is the hope we have for all that come serve as the hands and feet of Jesus on a Lighthouse retreat. All leaders were able to walk away from the weekend educated, equipped, and inspired to lead in their role this summer.

"I loved the variety of the material presented. It felt like a true investment into helping develop us as leaders. I also feel better equipped to work with a variety of personalities." - Retreat Leader

March Newsletter Banners.png

 Here we grow again!


In 2016, Lighthouse grew from hosting 14 retreats per year to 18. This was a significant step for the ministry and we’re at it again! Our current growth from 18 to 22 retreats allows us to increase our available ministry spots by 20%! Of course with growth comes cost.

The Lighthouse retreat schedule relies heavily on the school schedules of our most heavily populated Family Partner areas. Since we cannot extend summer break (even though we wish we could!) we must build more retreats into the weeks we have available. For years Lighthouse has been hosting double retreats within one week, but to grow during the 2019 season this means three weeks with triple retreats!

In order to accommodate three retreats during a single week we have to add to our inventory of supplies. The good news is that once we have those supplies in place they will be used over and over again. The total need is just over $21,000 and the basic requirements vary from $200 tables to another big Lighthouse logo tent for $10,000.

If you would like to help LFR create more leverage by being able to host multiple retreats during spring, summer and fall breaks we’d love your partnership. Here you can find our current list of needed in order to expand. To learn more email Steve Knudsen at


 Join us off retreat!


A week on retreat can be the highlight of a person's year. We make new friends and create unimaginable bonds with those we serve and serve with. So at Lighthouse we decided to not let the fun end when retreats are over!


Casino Night : Gold Party

Join us on September 14th at the Hotel at Avalon for our Casino Night Gold Party! For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we will all gather together for a fun night of games and both a silent and live auction. Consider making it a date night and stay in one of our hotel block rooms at the Hotel at Avalon. Tickets for this event will go on sale in the coming months.

Interested in become a sponsor? Check out more information at the link below!

20th Year Celebration

In the fall, we plan to celebrate 20 years of retreats together in a fun-filled event! This event is great for the whole family and the entire Lighthouse community. More information coming soon about date and location!

Be Rich

Every December we are blessed to partner with North Point Ministries for Be Rich. Through Be Rich, the church partners with nonprofits in the area to support the needs and efforts of the organizations. In December, North Point Community Church will host a Retreat Preparation day where over 600 volunteers come together to help prepare the Hope Boxes that we send home as a keep sake for all Retreat Families. Visit in the fall to sign up to join us for this years event.


We are often asked, "HOW ELSE CAN MY FAMILY HELP THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?" One of the best ways to continue supporting Lighthouse off of retreat is to host a supply drive or event. Gather your friends and family for a fun night that benefits Lighthouse Family Retreat! Hosting these events is another great way to get your children involved and serving. Your family can be as creative as you wish to fundraise, or choose from a list of ideas that we have constructed! If you are interested in hosting a supply drive or event to benefit Lighthouse please contact Adam Tomberlin at Adam is happy to answer any questions you may have to help you coordinate whatever you need to host a successful event.



Connect with us!

Follow and like us on Social Media to stay up to date with what is going on year round!

Joining us on retreat this year? Use hashtag #LFR20years or #LFR2019 and you could be featured on our social media!



Lighthouse is blessed with an amazing community of volunteers that join us on retreats each year. We are so appreciative of the time, talent, and treasure used to bless families living through childhood cancer. We look forward to a full year of engaging and growing further as the Lighthouse community.

Stay tuned for the next edition of The Wave in August 2019.