Retreats provide quality time for families looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Organized retreats offer an array of different opportunities for families to strengthen their bonds, while unstructured, peaceful getaways allow family members to unwind, reconnect and rediscover the meaning of their relationships in their own special ways. Learn about different types of family retreats to plan one that’s suitable for your family’s particular wants and needs.
It’s easy for families to fall out of touch or grow distant due to the demands of school, work and other daily responsibilities. This is why some families choose to go on a quiet, relaxing retreat instead of a busy vacation. Retreats help families rediscover shared interests, reestablish meaningful communication and revive deteriorating relationships with each other. Retreats also provide opportunities for families to work out difficult issues together, decompress and unwind from life’s demands and struggles. Retreats can also help families heal from extraordinary problems or tragedies, such as a death in the family or substance abuse. Some retreats prepare families for difficult situations, such as a family member going off to serve in the Armed Forces, or to help them reconnect after deployment. Other retreats encourage family members to strengthen and reaffirm their spiritual beliefs and values.
Retreats for families often take place in a quiet, isolated setting, where technology is unavailable or limited and the distractions of city or suburban life are nowhere to be found. Natural settings such as woodland cabins, camping grounds or the secluded countryside are popular options for family retreats. Many religious organizations and family services centers provide quiet retreat locations that aren’t quite so removed from civilization. Monasteries, private retreat centers, churches and schools are also common places for family retreats.
Retreat procedures and options vary by type, organization and place. Some family retreats last a weekend or longer, while others are only a daylong event. Some family retreats bring groups of other families together, while others provide private places and events for individual groups. You can choose a family retreat that features structured bonding activities lead by a retreat counselor or coordinator, or you can plan your own, unstructured family retreat and choose meaningful activities as you see fit. One benefit to organized, staffed retreats is that amenities, activities, lodgings and meals are provided by trained staff and included in retreat rates.
Organized retreats usually offer an array of activities designed to help families reconnect, establish trust, communicate and bond. Activities range from team challenges, inspirational presentations, leisure interests -- such as fishing or canoeing -- and crafts to therapy sessions, interventional meetings and spiritual masses. If you’re organizing your own family retreat, be sure to plan meaningful activities that will encourage communication, collaboration and bonding, such as storytelling circles, nature hikes or campfire meals.