Family Camp

Laynie & Gideon after day 1 of camp

I’ve always heard parents say that a vacation isn’t really a vacation when you have to take your kids. Families that have children with special needs understand that all too well. That’s why this summer we went back to Joni and Friends Family Camp! Five days and four nights of respite and fun… with the kids!!

We absolutely love this camp and the JAF ministry. From 9 am -3 pm every day, Kevin and I get a real break. After breakfast, the STMs (short term missionaries) take our kids for fun activities with other kids their age so that Kevin and I can participate in the adult activities. If we don’t want to do the adult activities, we can hang out in the pool or just go back to our room and sleep! I’m 36 weeks pregnant, so we spent more time napping and swimming because horseback riding and hiking might have sent me into labor!

In the evening, they have family activities that we can do with our kiddos and later in the evening they have special events, like the dance, the talent show, and the shaving cream/water balloon fight. We had so much fun this year and we truly were sad to leave. Here are some of our camp memories we’d like to share with you guys…


When you arrive at camp, you get to meet your STMs who will be working with your kids all week. Gideon’s STMs were Caitlyn and Taylor. They are PT students at Hardin-Simmons University. Gideon loves them! And so do we!!


At the dance, Gideon hung out by the speakers. The louder the music and bass, the better.


They had face painting and balloons at the dance as well.


The shaving cream fight is always a good time. On this evening of camp, they feed the parents a fancy candle light dinner and then draw back the curtains just as the kids are attacking each other outside. It’s pretty awesome to watch. (Gideon doesn’t participate in this because I’m confident he would hate it.)


The lakeside activities are Laynie’s favorites.


Gideon, on the other hand prefers the pool. He went almost every day of camp because his STMs are awesome!!


Gideon didn’t ride a horse this time around because it was way too hot outside. As you can see, he still had fun.


To say we had a blast would be an understatement. We love family camp!! The people involved here really are the hands and feet of Jesus to us weary and worn out parents.

If you have a child with a disability (or an adult child with a disability) you need to look into going to a Joni and Friends Camp near you. It’s worth every single penny! Check out their website, by clicking  HERE.  Also, they are always looking for volunteers!

Stay tuned for some special stories about camp…for now I’m off to sleep in my own bed!

8 thoughts on “Family Camp

  1. I’m sorry I missed you guys this summer! I fell in love with your sweet little family last year at camp. I’m so excited about the new baby coming soon and look forward to hearing all your stories from camp!!

    1. Hey Judy!! We were so sad to miss seeing all the same people we met last year but we were so blessed to see so many new faces (well, new to us!) at camp 1! Are you going to camp at all this year?

    2. My daughter and i went to week 2 as STMs. It was her 1st time and my 4th time. Just got home today. It was amazing as always!

  2. So glad you got to return! We leave Wednesday for our 11th camp, and can hardly wait! I need to find these HSU girls – my alma mater!

    1. Lanette, I’m so sad we missed seeing you guys this year! We wanted to do Camp 2 but it just didn’t seem smart being this close to my due date! I hope yall have tons of fun!! 🙂

  3. Everything associated with Joni and Friends ministries is the absolute best! I work with a wheelchair ministry that gives wheelchairs to poor people in Mexico. Many of our chairs come from Joni and Friends. She is an amazing woman! I hope you’ve had a chance to read some of her books.

    1. Oh we love Joni!!! Ever since Traci was first injured we knew of her… did not know about her camps though!! I got to meet her last year at camp!! She is an amazing woman!

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