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Seaside’s camps offer fun for kids; retreats focus on children with cancercomment (0)

June 12, 2008

By Linda Holloway

Camp Seaside is held from June through August for ages 5–12. If you think your children will be bored with a day of shopping, Camp Seaside has the answer. My grandson Gunnar enjoyed activities such as arts and crafts, movies, scavenger hunts and outdoor recreation. Also, pack the floaties for water games at the pool led by the competent staff members. For information call 1-888-Seaside or visit www.seasidefl.com.

If you visit Seaside in June, you may notice children playing organized games on the beach. These Beach Olympics are part of a Lighthouse Family Retreat hosted annually by Seaside. The organization serves children with cancer and their families. Each year, it coordinates 10 seaside retreats that take place from April to October in beach communities along the Florida panhandle.

Seaside has previously held benefit concerts featuring Amy Grant and Kenny Rogers where both entertainers donated the proceeds to the Lighthouse Family Retreat. Though summer is high tourist season, Seaside homeowners donate their rental homes, and volunteers and businesses serve 10 to 12 families in a variety of capacities during the retreat. Families travel from numerous states and for some children, it is their first time to see the ocean.

A local restaurant sponsors Parent’s Night Out while the Mom’s Spa and Pampering outing is a real treat as well. A daily session called Common Ground allows parents to share experiences and trials while their children are enjoying games and crafts.

"Common Ground is where we ask the parents how they are with God," said Renfro. The Morning Watch daily session is a time of devotional for the entire family. The culmination of each of the 10 retreats is a talent show. While in Seaside, Larry and I were entertained by a bounty of talented children and their siblings. We enjoyed singing, dancing and some comedy as well.

Many tourists may have been surprised last June to see a baptism in the ocean. The associate pastor of Seaside Interfaith Chapel was asked by a child diagnosed with leukemia to perform her baptism. The child’s brother had previously donated bone marrow to his sister. He was baptized at the same time.

For more information on the Lighthouse Family Retreat, call 678-290-2955 or visit www.lighthousefamilyretreat.org.


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