We Will Pay it Forward

Written by Jennifer Hannigan – originally posted as a review on Project Sanctuary’s Facebook page after her military family attended therapeutic retreat #124.

Our family just finished a retreat at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. The staff/volunteers are so dedicated and passionate that the sense of purpose can be felt. We had no idea how much we needed this retreat. We drove a long way and were excited and nervous about the experience.

It’s amazing how many things we were reminded about each other that we had forgotten over the years. Separation from the military, earning degrees, having children, losing loved ones, PCS’s/moves, a pending retirement and so many other things that are distractions from ‘what really matters’ to us and our family values…

Our children thrived in the environment that the staff and volunteers provided, so much so that they were reluctant to leave! They learned while playing and formed bonds with other children who know what being in a military family involves.

The setting was tranquil, and the activities were fun and adventurous with the serene mountains providing excellent hiking for all levels, the river giving a pleasureful rafting adventure, and the land playing host to horseback riding, exploring and a good ole fashioned game of cornhole.

We laughed, teared up, learned about how much we have accomplished together and how to take steps to work on our goals as a team. The workshops were informative and interactive, not the “death by PowerPoint” style at all!

The food, well, we are picky (to say the least). We contacted Project Sanctuary upon our acceptance and approval for retreat and let them know our family’s dietary needs/restrictions. Shawn, our chef/cook for the week, was more than accommodating. I even asked for a couple of his recipes! The snacks (most were donations-thank you) were abundant as was the coffee, water and lemonade. We definitely appreciated the quality of food and being together with the PS families at meal time.

The accommodation/cabin was lovely and more than suitable for our family of 4. We loved the views from our porch and the privacy yet accessibility to the cabin where we met for all activities/workshops/meals.

Overall, this retreat was amazing! The activities that were planned were once in a lifetime for us….the information will benefit our family, and the time together was priceless! What will it do for you and your family? If you give Project Sanctuary a chance, it can help you understand where you’ve come, where you’re at, and where you want to go. We can’t say enough good things and thank everyone enough who has donated/volunteered. So we will continue to share our experience with others and offer an ear to anyone who needs to talk. We will pay it forward….As veterans/military families, we need to stick together, empower each other, and share amazing opportunities like this!

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