One thing that makes Lighthouse Family Retreat so special is that families serve together, and kids and students 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 teenagers 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? 14
HOW MANY RETREATS HAVE YOU ATTENDED? 4
WHO USUALLY COMES TO SERVE AT LIGHTHOUSE WITH YOU?
I serve at Lighthouse with my family: my mom, Tricia; my dad, Chris; and my brother, Carter.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EVENT AT LIGHTHOUSE, AND WHY?
My favorite event at Lighthouse is the UnBirthday Party. Every year it is always so much fun to get to spend that quality time with the Retreat Family kids, and to sing and dance under the tent. It is also super impactful for the kids and is so good to see how happy everyone is. I love the energy of the UnBirthday Party, and it is definitely the most fun night. The best part is seeing the little kids light up with joy when they see the tent decorated for an awesome birthday party. The UnBirthday Party is so great for the Retreat kids because so many of the kids may not have had the chance to even have had a birthday party before, so all the kids always have so much fun. Nine Square is also a Lighthouse classic and a great way to get to know new people. It is super competitive and always so much fun for all ages.
TELL ME ABOUT A FRIEND YOU MADE AT LIGHTHOUSE. WHO WERE THEY? HOW DID YOU CONNECT? WHAT DID YOU LIKE TO DO TOGETHER?
My first year at Lighthouse, I became good friends with Morgan Giles. Morgan's family and my family were staying in a condo together, and it was so much fun getting to know her. We became super close on that trip and still see each other frequently—now five years after we met! Morgan and I both attend North Point Community Church regularly and frequently run into each other in InsideOut, NPCC’s student environment. Morgan is an amazing person, and I am so thankful I met her. Another good friend I met on a Lighthouse trip was Mckinlee Taulbee. Mckinlee was also staying in the same condo as my family that year, and we bonded instantly. We had so much fun hanging out the whole week and still talk to this day!
Lighthouse is an amazing way to meet new friends that will forever be your Lighthouse family.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM ANY LIGHTHOUSE TRIP YOU'VE TAKEN.
My favorite memory from Lighthouse was during the most recent retreat I went on. It was during the Beach Picnic. It was raining, so we did it inside, and after we finished eating, we had a huge dance party with everyone. Then we all made a humongous human tunnel, and all the little kids ran through it. It was so much fun to dance with all the kids and sing and laugh and see how happy everyone was. The picnic was also so much fun because we got to talk with our Retreat Family, and it was really good quality time. It was just so much fun because even though we couldn't have it on the beach, we made it the best we possibly could.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU DO WELL AT LIGHTHOUSE? WHAT GIFTS/TALENTS/QUALITIES DO YOU PERSONALLY BRING TO THE TEAM?
I think I am good at hanging out with the Retreat Family kids and being a good friend to them. I think I’m also good at helping the Retreat Family and organizing and cleaning whatever they may need to be done.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU'VE SERVED AT LIGHTHOUSE?
Because I’ve served at Lighthouse, I’ve learned how to serve others before myself. I’ve learned no matter what you may be going through, there’s always something to smile about. Lighthouse has shown me in so many moments that kids are so incredibly happy without having to worry about anything else that may be going on in their life. I think one of the best things about Lighthouse is that it shows you that, no matter what, there are always things to be celebrated because God allows us to always find good in everything.
WHY WOULD YOU TELL OTHER KIDS THEY SHOULD COME SERVE AT LIGHTHOUSE?
I would recommend serving at Lighthouse to other kids because it is honestly the most fun week. You meet so many new people, and it is so much fun getting to connect with the Retreat Family, but also getting to work alongside your other Family Partners and growing closer with them too. Lighthouse is so much fun because all you really have to do is just have fun with the kids, and you are serving them more than you could ever imagine.
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!
Retreat Family: These are our families living through childhood cancer who we are giving a week away from the chaos of cancer to experience rest, joy, restoration, and hope.
Family Partner: On retreat, we call our volunteers "Family Partners." Spending a week together at the beach while working together to create an incredible environment for Retreat Families gives volunteers the chance to build a community and gain life-long relationships.
Beach Picnic: Everyone gathers on the beach one night for dinner by the ocean. Retreat Families and Family Partners get to spend time together and enjoy a relaxing picnic in the sand. Retreat Families also have the opportunity to get family photos by the water!
If you know someone who would benefit from reading this blog post, or any posts on the Perspectives blog, please use the Facebook, Twitter, and link share buttons below. We also welcome your likes and comments so we can know which posts you find most helpful and encouraging!