LowVARates Volunteers at Wolf Creek Foundation
The Wolf Creek Foundation is a 501C-3 non-profit based in Utah that supports weekend retreats for military members serving at Hill Air Force Base and their families. They work hard to make wonderful weekend retreats at no cost to the military members or their families. Their retreats focus on families where the military member has received deployment orders, and the retreat is engineered to help families prepare for the deployment. From their website: “Each retreat represents a $50,000 commitment from the Foundation and there is no cost whatsoever for the participating families.”
Charlotte Colby – Volunteer Rock Star and LowVARates Employee
Charlotte spent an entire weekend with her husband volunteering at the Wolf Creek Foundation to help make the retreat a success. The power and feeling of the experience are expressed best by her in her own words, inserted below:
My husband and I had a wonderful time!! The military families had a member who had either recently returned from deployment or was getting ready to deploy. One veteran we met had returned from deployment two days before! The retreat gave the families time to be together in a beautiful and relaxing environment. They stayed in donated housing provided by homeowners in the valley. They had opportunities to participate in activities and also had some free time. They were fed wonderful food. We had the opportunity to sit in on part of the couples’ seminar (for lack of a better term.) Brad Barton spoke to them Friday morning and did a wonderful job. He talked about resiliency skills. He put a very positive light on what they are doing and the choices they have made to serve in the military and the great strength they have. It was awesome to see couples sitting together and soaking in the positive and being built up. Build-a-bears were donated for each child. The military parent could record themselves reading a book their child had chosen (which had been donated by United Way) onto a small device that went into the bear and was activated by squeezing the bear’s tummy. There were a couple of times the children were cared for a short distance away, giving the parents time to focus on activities planned just for them. While the children were being cared for and playing, the play activities were planned and carried out to address their fears and concerns with having a parent deployed. It was fun to watch families become friends during the course of the retreat. They developed support systems. Children and adults hugged as friends when they went to leave.
It was fun to talk to them and find out a little bit about some of them. One man is a bomb specialist. One an engineer. One has his orders to take his family and move to Oklahoma. One woman is actually from Brazil. And on and on.
The staff running the retreat are great. They have a passion for what they are doing. We had chances to visit with them a few times. They told of couples coming back after the retreat and telling them that their marriages had been saved by attending the retreat and how grateful they were. Of attendees expressing gratitude and the fact that they had never experienced anything like it, they had never had the finances to stay in such a place, have someone provide good food for them, and have uplifting and building things for them to attend and experience. Some made a special effort to come tell us (staff and volunteers) thanks for the small part we played that gave them the opportunity to come.
I hope we have the opportunity to participate again!
It Doesn’t End There
The Wolf Creek Foundation retreats have achieved “best practice” status from Hill Air Force Base, which means Hill AFB officially recommends their retreats for families of military members who have received deployment orders. Visit www.wolfcreekfoundation.com to learn more about the program and find ways to get involved. The Wolf Creek Foundation takes cash donations and also has many volunteer opportunities for anyone who would like to get involved. This is just one of many ways you can serve those that have served us, and LowVARates encourages you to look for as many ways to serve as you can.