Our family just returned from Pine Cove at Crier Creek. I was preaching at their Thanksgiving weekend family retreat. We heard about Pine Cove 5 years ago and have been involved with them for 4. Every summer, our family spends a week with them in their Family Camp ministry. It's worth every dollar and every day off.
At Family Camp, we have great Bible study led by high-caliber speakers. Our kids have great fun and receive great encouragement from high-caliber counselors. And we all have high-caliber fun on horses, zip lines, paddle boats, and other adventures. It's a full week long (Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning) and while there, you don't touch a plate, a glass, or laundry. They take care of everything. Did I mention the high-caliber college students that are there, playing with your kids, spending time with your family, helping in the most servant-hearted ways, and generally wanting to make you take a few home with you when you leave?
The one thing that I personally love about Family Camp is the time it creates. My wife and I have at least one year-shaping conversation while there. That conversation is never planned - it just happens because we have time to sit and talk and think and reflect and be grateful and rest and reconnect and refresh ourselves from the well of togetherness. Quality time happens in the midst of quantity time. Family Camp helps us get plenty of both.
And throughout the year, Pine Cove hosts various conferences at their camps (located in Tyler and Columbus, Texas). They do dad-son, dad-daughter, mother-daughter, mother-son, marriage, scrapbooking, holiday (like Labor Day or Thanksgiving or New Year's), men's, and women's retreats. I probably missed a few too. Outstanding folks put on great retreats with some of the same things as summer but not as intense.
This Thanksgiving retreat is the culmination of about three years' prayer. We have asked the Lord for a way to give back to this ministry that has meant so much to us and this was the way He saw fit to answer. I tell you that to say that we are connected with them far more on the receiving end than on the giving end and I'd be making this pitch if I never had preached for them or don't ever again. We believe in them that much.
One quick note: they're not the cheapest camp, it's true. But they are by far the best I have experienced and I know they have helped folks out who needed payment options (me included). There are other great camps out there, I know that (especially for the kids). But if we had one week of vacation a year, we'd spend it at Family Camp. Yes, it really is worth it.
But all of this explaining can't hold a candle to experiencing it. I encourage you, dear reader, to check it out. Just click here: www.pinecove.com.