Over the past 11 years, I’ve had the privilege of watching dads connect with their kids at Camp Highland. Some of the most influential ways I’ve seen this unfold is during our Father+Daughter and Father+Son weekend retreats. Holding the ranks as some of our longest-running retreats, they date back over 25 years, to our initial beginnings.
To be honest not much has changed throughout the years in the programming for these types of retreats. They’re nothing fancy. At the core, they are simply ways for dads and their kids to spend a lot of quality time with each other. Now, of course, this time is nothing short of adventure, fun, worship, food, hiking, playing, fellowship, connection, laughter, gratefulness, prayer, and maybe even some tears. The dads and kids getaway to the mountains, put away all work, cell phones, computers, and basically all other regular duties and responsibilities. Not to mention they can relax, sleep in a cabin, be outside in the woods, and meet other dads and kids who are doing the same. Okay, so these retreats are really awesome! All of this combined is the perfect formula for deep intentional connection – something we all desire. However, these special times wouldn’t be possible without dads.
I must say, there seems to be a lot of pressure these days for dads to live up to everything that’s expected of us. Sometimes it can be exhausting. There just doesn’t seem to ever be enough time in the day to accomplish everything we set out to do. We often have to prioritize the most important things and decide between what’s most important and what’s most urgent. Many times we get these two mixed up though. In spite of wanting to accomplish everything we set our minds to, we ultimately have to say no to some things in order to say yes to others.
I’m extremely encouraged by the hundreds of dads I’ve seen, over the last 10 years, say no to a lot of really important things in order to say yes to their families! At these retreats, I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with and speaking in front of these dads. What’s so encouraging about this is that each of them took the time out of their busy trying-to-be-the-best-at-everything-else life to work on just being the best dads they can be for their kids. The look I’ve seen on countless children’s faces as their dads speak truth into their lives at these retreats are images that I’ll never be able to forget. Those memories will be etched into the minds of these dads and children forever. I believe these are defining moments in many of their lives where they begin a new trajectory in the direction that God has planned for them.
This is why we want to take the time to celebrate dads, especially camp dads. We are so thankful for your investment in the most important and most urgent things in life – your family! Here’s to you camp dads. You really are the coolest!