Kid Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Johnson
One thing that makes Lighthouse Family Retreat so special is that families serve together, and kids especially play a key role on the volunteer team. They not only get to serve in the traditional sense—carrying plates, cleaning spaces—but their most important role is hanging out with all the other kids and creating a fun, welcoming environment for the kids of the Retreat Families. We thought it would be fun to interview some of these rock stars and share their insight and experience with you!
Note: Not sure what some of the Lighthouse terms below mean? Keep scrolling down for a little “insider language” tutorial! Then join us on a retreat and you’ll be “speaking Lighthouse” like a pro!
HOW OLD ARE YOU? 18
HOW MANY RETREATS HAVE YOU ATTENDED? 1
WHO USUALLY COMES TO SERVE AT LIGHTHOUSE WITH YOU?
My school group through Valor Discovery Program
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EVENT AT LIGHTHOUSE, AND WHY?
UnBirthday Party!! Anything with dancing calls my name! So when the Wolf family was all in for dancing, I knew that that night would be amazing. We danced the WHOLE time (and they had moves!). When it was over, we refused to leave. We wanted to keep dancing for hours. Eventually, we needed to return the Wolf kids to their parents, so we walked them down to their resort. It was like we had known each other for so long, we had such fun conversations. After dancing the whole night together, we became very comfortable around each other. I was so excited to learn more about each person. Hands down the best night. The Wolf Family is super fun and make any event so memorable. Dancing at the UnBirthday Party helped us connect and become better friends, so it was definitely the best event.
TELL ME ABOUT A FRIEND YOU MADE AT LIGHTHOUSE. WHO WERE THEY? HOW DID YOU CONNECT? WHAT DID YOU LIKE TO DO TOGETHER?
I was with the Wolf family when I went to the retreat over the summer. The Wolf Pack is a family of seven. I became really good friends with all the kids! Reagan, Kota, and Oakley were all teenage girls around my age. It was intimidating at first, but they were very friendly and fun to hang out with. The two boys, Jackson and Hunter, were super cool, and I became good friends with them as well. I loved then getting to know them all. I got Dakota's snapchat at the end of the trip!
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM ANY LIGHTHOUSE TRIP YOU'VE TAKEN.
My favorite memory was after the picnic on the beach. There were HUGE waves, so we all decided to go play in the ocean. It was so fun just getting to hang out with them in the water and jump through and over huge waves. We stayed in the ocean until it was dark. I will never forget that night and the amazing time in the ocean with Reagan, Dakota, Oakley, Jackson, and Hunter. They are a super fun crowd to be around!
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU DO WELL AT LIGHTHOUSE? WHAT GIFTS/TALENTS/QUALITIES DO YOU PERSONALLY BRING TO THE TEAM?
I am a pretty outgoing person. I was excited to be friends with the Wolfs. I put a lot of energy into other people in general, so it came naturally to serve the family. I am also a focused and hardworking person, so I was committed to making the Wolf Pack feel joy and rest and love on their family vacation. I've only had one experience with Lighthouse, but I fell in love with the organization and their goals. I am so grateful for the Wolf family and their friendliness and welcoming presence. They made it easy for me to be myself around them.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU'VE SERVED AT LIGHTHOUSE?
The retreat was a week where I didn't focus on myself but focused on the Wolf family. I got to be a part of making this family's vacation restful and fun. I was in awe of how joyful I felt from wanting to make their family vacation the best thing ever. It changed my mindset on serving others. It is so cool how when you humble yourself and forget yourself that it heals your heart. The Wolf family filled me with joy and gratitude for friendship and serving your friends.
WHY WOULD YOU TELL OTHER KIDS THEY SHOULD COME SERVE AT LIGHTHOUSE?
The families that Lighthouse serves have endured so much. They have lived through unbelievable suffering. To give them a week of fun, love, joy, and rest is very impactful. As followers of Christ, we are called to serve others by spreading Jesus' joy and love. Just one retreat through Lighthouse provides these families much needed rest. While serving others, my heart was filled with joy. It is amazing what Jesus can do through you for others while healing your own heart.
Lighthouse Family Retreat Glossary:
UnBirthday Party: On Wednesday night during retreat, we get to celebrate birthdays for all the kids on retreat while the parents are gone for the night at Parent’s Night Out. We sing, dance, eat ice cream, and have LOTS of fun!
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