Posted by Anara Midgett on 1:09 AM
I just found out about a handicapped accessible, Faith-based way to relax and grow together as a family. The mission statement of Barren Heights Christian Retreat Center says it all:
"Our Mission is simply to love and encourage families. We do this by providing free mini-vacation style weekend retreats for families with physically or developmentally disabled children!"
I said a sincere "Praise the Lord" when our local Stone Soup Special Needs Ministry sent out an email notice that there were still spaces available for family retreats at Barren Heights.
The four of us have not had a vacation in three years, and have been able to eat together in restaurants for only five months of every year. My husband and I usually have a child free, out of the house date every one to two years. So I jumped at the opportunity for our family to enjoy a handicapped accessible, Special Needs sensitive, family focused weekend in Scottsville, Kentucky.
Five years ago, Joe and Toni Rose recognized that it can be difficult for parents and caregivers of physically and developmentally challenged children to replenish themselves spiritually and emotionally. They built the Barren Heights Retreat Center in an effort to help not just parents, but families, relax and grow together in a Christian setting. Part of their ministry is to provide family enrichment weekends for free to qualified families.
I love camping, but thought our family would have to wait until Clara-Bear was older and stronger to get the kids in nature for more than a day hike. Air conditioned, wheelchair accessible cabins with their own bathrooms sounds 5 star to me! All facilities are thoughtfully designed with the ADA in mind, including paved pathways to the firepit and wheelchair height basketball goals.
Board members and volunteers run the family enrichment activities. You do not have to be part of a group to attend a retreat! Each retreat weekend is comprised of up to 3 families (2 parents and up to 4 children). Retreats are Friday through Sunday from May through October. Check their schedule, if you see "submit your application" that means there is still space available for those dates.
With Clara-Bear being homebound for the past five winters, regular church participation has not been a part of our family life. Since this is her last housebound winter, we're looking forward to attending church and serving together as a family. Our Barren Heights experience will be an incredible way to re-introduce Christ to our family. Now, I just need someone to watch Red Dog while we're gone.
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