When I was a kid, my family sent me to camp each summer. Either basketball camp (remember how bad I sucked) Girl-scout camp (I never made it past a Brownie, but still went to their camps), horse camp, and a few others. We also went to a resort called Viking Trail Resort in Alexandria, MN for a week every summer. I have so many awesome memories from all of that stuff.
I've tried to do some of that for my kids but one, I have a lot of kids, and two, we were using through a lot of those years and could not afford it. I've been lucky to get a camper to use, and we have taken some trips. But not every family coming out of addiction, get the chances I've had. I know how lucky I have been having the chance to make some good memories with my kids.
I want to start a camp for kids whose lives that have been affected by addiction. Or maybe a retreat for families near the beginning (or later) of their recovery. Like the one put on by Project Sanctuary for military families (GREAT organization). I've been lucky enough to be a guest twice to that retreat, and it was awesome for my kids. For us too.
You see, parents who are addicted usually don't put away money for kids camp OR family vacation. And those newly sober OR have been in recovery awhile often times have royally fucked up their finances. We don't often have money for camps for our kids, or trips with our families.I know there are other ways to make good memories to add to the bad ones, but a week away is such a good one.
It would be awesome to put kids and families together, in a place where they can enjoy nature, have some fun, and reconnect. A place where kids can be around other kids who know what it's like living in a world where nothing is certain, and let downs and empty promises are just the way it has gone.
So where to begin? Small right? I know we have YMCA family camps in Minnesota. But what else? And how do I fundraise? Any ideas or help are welcome. I asked the woman who founded Project Sanctuary, Heather Ehle's how she began. She said small. She started with one family, and grew from there. Now I think they take like 20 families once a month, up in the Rocky Mountains. They've been doing retreats for 6 years and have grown like crazy. It's an amazing vacation and it runs by donations. They have licensed counselors there an a staff of volunteers who treated us like royalty.
So I'd obviously want to keep it around our great state of Minnesota. Well...maybe Wisconsin. Like my friend Heather at PJ said, "keep it simple, make it easy to find, fun activities, and make sure there is decent lodging."
This idea has nagged at me for a year. If anyone has an idea, or a bunch of cash, or wants to help me think about this, what a great thing this could be. Maybe I sound like an idiot. But I know my family grew at the retreat we went to and also the trips we've taken. For many different reasons. I would love to give that to families in recovery. Just some fun.
On a side note, I asked my dad to maybe help, but he wants the kids to work first. Like in a corn field because he's not going to be the "fun guy." We have a different vision. It's not a work camp dude, that's illegal.
Who is in?