2019 Blue Skies Guest Family Eligibility

There are more than 50,000 families in the United States living through childhood cancer. And while it may seem impossible, our vision is to offer a retreat for EVERY family living through pediatric cancer who wants to come to Blue Skies.

  • Blue Skies is intended for families who have a child currently undergoing curative or palliative treatment for pediatric cancer (or who has been off of treatment for a couple of months) at the time of the requested retreat.  Medical professionals can refer families to our program or families can apply directly.

  • The retreat is intended for the patient’s immediate family members who live at home with the patient. However, single parents may bring another adult family member with them to the retreat who will share their room.  Except in special circumstances, we limit the number of adults to two.

  • All families who have a child currently undergoing curative or palliative treatment for pediatric cancer AND receive medical clearance and a referral from their child’s pediatric oncology health care team are welcome to apply regardless of religious affiliation, financial status or geographical location. 

  • Children should be in stable health, feeling up to participating. While there is a nurse present at each retreat, families provide all physical care including medications and treatments for their child while at Blue Skies.

  • Families must be able to provide their own transportation to and from the retreat.

  • Families are asked to respect and abide by the guidelines of Blue Skies and sign waivers/consent forms as part of signing up to attend a retreat.

  • Because of the limited number of spots available, families who are attending another organization’s beach retreat are not eligible to attend Blue Skies in the same calendar year.

Returning to Blue Skies:

  • Once a family has been served at a Blue Skies retreat, we encourage them to come back as volunteers, to “pay it forward” and make it possible for other families to experience this unique and special vacation. However, if families find the dark clouds of childhood cancer still hovering and aren’t quite ready to serve, they are welcome to apply again.

  • When a child has relapsed, had progression of disease or other setbacks, we encourage families to apply as a guest again.

Selection Process:

  • Applications are selected by a Review Committee that consists of members of pediatric oncology healthcare teams such as nurses, PNPs/PAs, social workers, child life, chaplains, oncologists and Blue Skies’ staff. Parents of children with cancer also sit on the Review Committee. Prior experience at Blue Skies and similar programs are taken into consideration during the review process.

  • We believe that it is important for the entire family to experience Blue Skies together, so we give priority to families whose entire family can attend the entire retreat. (Camp starts on Sunday at 3pm EST and continues through the following Saturday at 8am)

Cancellation Policy:

  • If for any reason a family needs to cancel, we ask that they make every effort to let us know as soon as possible so that another family is able to attend.

  • Decisions to be away from home, off work, away from treatment, etc. are not quick decisions. However, if we are not notified of a cancellation until close to the retreat date, there may not be enough time to fill the spot. The retreats are made possible through donations by volunteers, individuals in the community, along with businesses and churches. We raise $75,000 to host each retreat and we are glad to do it! The funding we raise covers the rental of the facility, food, activities, supplies and everything needed to bring families a week of hope, joy and laughter!. (So, more than $5,000 is raised for each guest family who attends.) We don’t want any family to miss out on a chance to attend. That being said, we recognize living through childhood cancer is challenging and that schedules can change without control. We share this to encourage families to make every effort to attend the retreat once they have been accepted. Thanks!

Attendance Policy:

  • We ask our guests to make every effort to arrive during the specified arrival time on Sunday afternoon (which is between 3pm and 4pm EST) unless they have an emergency.

  • To help everyone get to know each other, guests are required to attend dinner on Sunday evening and to attend the first Kindred Journey/H20 session on Monday morning at 10am.  Apart from these two activities, guests may participate in whatever activities they choose.

2019 Blue Skies Guest Family Guidelines

To help protect you, your family, those we serve and our ministry the following guidelines are in place:

  • If you, your child or anyone in your family is having or has had a history of anger or violence; challenges with or involvement/use of illegal or prescriptive drugs or alcohol abuse; history of sex offenses or pornography; or history of theft or crime, they are not eligible to attend Blue Skies. 

  • Students who have behavioral issues, have been expelled from school, have been involved in any illegal activities or are having other significant challenges should not attend until the issues have been discussed with Blue Skies and are resolved. Please feel free to contact our office for additional information.

  • Any staff, guest family or volunteer who is found to or has history of any sexual offense will be terminated from employment or volunteer services/retreat attendance immediately. Thank you for your understanding of these guidelines.

  • Parents/guardians are responsible for the actions of everyone attending the retreat with them. Children should be supervised by their parents unless they are participating in a scheduled activity.

  • Volunteers/staff typically stay on campus unless there is a scheduled outing. Our guests are free to come and go as they like to shop, sight see, etc. If they leave the retreat facility (other than the scheduled parent’s outing) they must take their children with them.

  • Please show common courtesy and respect for all retreat participants.

  • Report any accidents/injuries or concerns to the Retreat Director as soon as possible.

  • Please report any maintenance problems to the Retreat Director.

  • Blue Skies volunteers are not allowed to drive Blue Skies guest families.

  • Never be alone with anyone (unless it is someone in your own family).

  • Please travel in groups of 3 or more.

  • We ask that our guest families please not solicit any gifts or services from the volunteers, donors or individuals in the community during or after the retreat. We ask guest and volunteers to respect the privacy of Blue Skies’ guest families, volunteers, donors and businesses/individuals in the community.  We count on their support to help make our ministry possible. We ask our volunteers and community partners to respect our policy of gifts towards individual guest families.

Privacy: To protect the privacy of individuals attending the retreat, all names and situations are a matter of confidentiality and are not to be shared with anyone else or discussed in a public place. Thank you.
Visitors: Please let us know if you are expecting any visitors during the retreat. All visitors need to be pre-approved.
Swimming: There is no lifeguard on duty at the pool or on the beach. All retreat participants must abide by Windmark and Blue Skies guidelines including no solo swimming or swimming after dark. Children must be supervised by an adult at the beachfront and/or pool.

Other Policies:

  • Blue Skies is a dry campus, no alcohol.

  • There is no smoking in ANY of the houses, condos or outdoor common areas at the retreat.

  • No fireworks and/or firearms are allowed at the retreat.

  • Sorry, no pets are allowed at the retreat.

  • Blue Skies is not responsible for the loss of any personal property. Please keep valuables locked or with you during your stay. There are no keys to bedrooms.