Our Heart for Blue Skies
What are our hopes for Blue Skies?
To live out the love of Christ through caring for others, considering others before ourselves.
To recognize that Christ is the only source of hope, the best gift we can offer our guests.
To help strengthen families through the environments we create, the activities we offer and the friendships we build.
For siblings to feel special, chosen, to have an opportunity to “shine”.
For children with cancer to feel “normal” to do as much as they want to do (and can do), to celebrate them.
For families to connect with other families who understand – to create environments where they can share with one another, play and eat together.
To take care of the families’ routine “chores” of life so that they can focus on having fun and reconnecting with one another.
For guest families to feel like our special guests. This retreat is one of God’s provision for them during a dark and challenging time. We want to serve them with a cheerful heart regardless of situations or their response. We want them to know we genuinely care about them.
For the retreat to be full of extravagant love (excellence, going the extra mile with every detail) just as God poured out His extravagant love on His children. (with the gift of His son, His grace, His mercy).
For everyone to have fun and to laugh. (A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.)
A volunteer's week....
Camp begins with check-in and a walking tour of the property. Check-in is typically on Saturday between 3 and 4 PM EST. Orientation will take place after the volunteers arrive and continues the following morning. Volunteers spend Saturday and Sunday preparing for our Guest's arrival. The Guest Families arrive on Sunday between 3 and 4 PM EST. After they check in, their Family Host team will show them to their condos, unload their cars and take them on a walking tour of the facility.
The grand opening of the pool is after our Welcome Dinner on Sunday night.
At the end of every day, volunteers gather for "Overflow", a time of worship and reflection, where volunteers get to allow God to fill their hearts until they "Overflow" with His love and compassion. Matthew 12:34, "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."
Each morning, everyone eats breakfast on their own. Afterwards, the volunteers gather to pray and get directions for the day.
Chapel is held for the volunteers and guests in the mornings and on Friday, we celebrate communion together.
After Chapel, the guest parents gather to share their stories in Kindred Journeys led by our Camp Pastor. While parents are participating in Kindred Journeys, kids go to H2O which stands for “half-full” to overflowing. Guest kids get to choose their H2O activity group where they have fun, make friends and get lots of attention. The volunteer kids get to participate with their new friends.
Each volunteer serves on a crew. (Care, Food or Rec) The Care Crew focuses on caring for the families and their condos by cleaning, doing laundry, turn down service at night, milk and cookies, etc. The Food Crew prepares, serves and cleans up after all meals. The menus, recipes, grocery lists are prepared by Blue Skies staff. The Rec Crew is in charge of all recreation for the week and includes having fun and "making the fun". They set up the beachfront, pool area and all activities and then help the families enjoy the fun!
So, while parents and kids are in Kindred Journeys and H2O, the Care Crew makes beds, starts the laundry and tidies the guests’ units. The Rec Crew leads H2O and sets up for the beach and pool while the Food Crew prepares lunch.
Everyone eats lunch together. Volunteers spend the afternoon playing at the beach and pool with our Guest families (and preparing for the night’s activities).
Each night there is a themed night dinner with fun activities from a Splish Splash Pool Bash to a Red, White and Blue Skies’ BBQ and parade.