We joke that our family doesn’t have a lot of traditions. Due to my dad’s job, we often celebrated Christmas a few days late or early and other holidays were the same. It wasn’t as much about the actual day the holiday fell on, but the day we spent together.
The truth is we do have traditions, we just like to joke about it, the most long standing one being Northern Pines.
When people ask my parents about parenting advice or specific things they would do again, I’ve heard them tell multiple people that committing to Northern Pines was one thing they did right. I happen to think they did about a million things right — Northern Pines was just one of those things.
Yesterday, a friend posted an article on Facebook yesterday titled “My husband was the perfect Dad – and it almost killed our marriage” I turned around and shared it with the following statement:
This past summer at Northern Pines, I heard one of the most simple, yet profound statements from one of the speakers.
“You can be an amazing father and a terrible husband, but I have yet to meet an amazing husband who failed to be an amazing father.”
This article is such a perfect example of how powerful this statement is and also such a good reminder.
When I talk about Northern Pines to friends or hear my parents tell others about it, I’m reminded constantly about why it is set apart from so many other camps, retreats and family camps. Northern Pines is about the family unit, but even more about your marriage.
They don’t simply talk about ways to focus on your marriage when you get home (they do that too), but during the entire week, they create space to be together as a couple. For example, if you have kids in third grade and under, you are assigned a Child Care Assistant (CCA). These are students that have actually paid to come to camp to watch your kids! They come to your room or house on campus and watch your kids until 11pm for free. Every night. During this time, the evening speaker session and other activities are available for you to attend. A few mornings throughout the week, you are given about 2 hours as a break before you need to go pick up your young kids from their daily Bible school — again, just another moment to spend time with your spouse, talk about the week’s speakers, goals for when you return home, or just go take a nap!
Even more time is available to spend as a family — afternoon freetime, family day, etc. — but I am so thankful for Northern Pines’s focus on the marital unit in conjunction to the family unit.
Another aspect of Northern Pines that I am so thankful for, is the generations represented. We are blessed to attend with both of my sisters, my parents and Andy’s parents as well. Harlow is in Bible class with kids of friends I grew up going to Northern Pines with!
And I should make a note…..when I say camp? It’s not really camp. Andy laughed so hard the first year he came and saw our air conditioned room, private bathroom and amazing food — with unlimited ice cream at every meal. :) If you enjoy camping, there are campsites and cabins available as well!
But back to the generations in attendance. Northern Pines sees the importance of families spending this time together so much so that an anonymous donor is giving money to fulfill what they are calling Project Generations.
I’m so excited about this gift because it makes Northern Pines more attainable for the family! If you are already attending as a family with kids, you can gift the week to both sets of grandparents — or more if you have them! If you are wanting to try Northern Pines, you can split the cost with the grandparents making a week of camp half of the standard price….or even LESS if you’re splitting between your family and multiple sets of grandparents!
And then to add to that: all kids under 3 are free in 2015 as well!
If it’s not obvious yet, let me just say it now: I love Northern Pines. I attribute a lot my spiritual growth to the weeks I spent at camp — through conversations with my counselors, time with my family, and a week spent away from the daily grind of home.
Northern Pines‘s tagline is Vacation with a Purpose, and they truly show that in every aspect of the week. Each speaker is chosen carefully along with each program director. And to read more about what kids of all ages do throughout the week — go here.
I hope it’s obvious how much I love Northern Pines — and how much I believe in its vision and focus. We drive about 11 hours each year to get there….and we are not the attendees who drive the farthest! We’ve made it a priority to get there every year, and I am so thankful that we do.
I’d love to see you there this year — and to take advantage of Project Generations you must have your deposit submitted before January 1, 2015.
I’m so thankful my parents invested in doing this “one thing right” for our family — I can’t wait to see you there! :)