Answer: We have no age requirement. We leave it to the parents to use their judgment if the daughter is young. We work very hard to make sure that this retreat is appropriate for dads and daughters of ALL ages. We have had married women with children attend with their dads, as well as four and five year old daughters. We always do our best to make sure that at the banquet the tables are assigned to girls that are in the same age groups. We have never had a table of five year olds and twenty-five year olds!
Here are some of my personal guidelines. If she is potty-trained, and can sit still in church, you should be good.
For older daughters, we have had daughters over 50 talk about attending with their dads. It’s never worked out yet, but I welcome that. We have had daughters in their late 20’s. In some ways, the older dads and daughters seem to cherish the retreat in a special way.
I’ll share my experience.
When we did the first retreat, our oldest daughter (Noelani) had just turned five, several weeks earlier. She was very mature for her age, and she probably could have been fine attending at three–but for sure at four years old. She potty-trained early. She had a great attention span, and could grasp concepts easily. She is an auditory learner, so the talks were easy for her to follow. It was great being with her.
My second daughter, Maleia, is not as much of an auditory learner. Also, sitting still for longer than it takes to catch her breath was not her thing when she was young. She didn’t attend the retreat until she was six and a half.
My third daughter, Amairah, is so active, I sometimes wonder if she even knows how to catch her breath. She will turn four in September. I feel like Heather and I are still working on her obedience in basic things. I don’t know when she will attend.
Use your judgment. Make sure it’s right for you. But be clear, this retreat is strategically and prayerfully crafted to bring out the best in your relationship, no matter how old you are.
“I live in Tampa which is not too far away from the hotel. Can I save money by not staying at the hotel?”
Answer: Part of the magic of this retreat is that it is a complete immersion experience. That means there is no break, and that helps create the intenisity of the experience…and that helps the magic, and the memory, stay with you longer, and in a more vibrant way.
Complete immersion is exactly what anyone does when they want to really create a new experience, learning experience, or feeling. Consider the following immersion examples.
Immersion language schools in other countries where you learn a new language completely in one month. Part of the experience is living in another country where no one speaks English.
Professional sports teams go out of town to train for the new year. They find some place that is off the beaten track, or away from their home town, to create an immersion experience for the new sports season.
The military creates a complete immersion experience in boot camp/basic training.
A complete immersion experience is part of the magic of this retreat. To stay away from the hotel would rob you and your daughter(s) from the magic that this retreat creates for everyone who attends.
“Should I bring all my daughters or just one every year?”
Answer: It’s your choice. However, I will tell you that even though we started this retreat in 2008, there were some years we have not done it. There is no guarantee that we will do this every year.
Also, every person, that I know of, who has chosen to take a different daughter each year has been unable to do it. Either they have a conflict that prohibits the next daughter from coming, or we didn’t do the retreat when they wanted to bring the next daughter.
In addition, dads have brought as many as five daughters to our retreat, and didn’t miss anything. In some ways, having more daughters there heightened the experience.
There is one situation where I could see bringing one daughter, as opposed to all. If you have one daughter who has a challenged relationship with you and there needs to be special healing, or special intervention. There was one dad who thought he had neglected one of his daughters because of a special needs child they adopted that was her age. He brought her by herself.
So, ultimately, it’s your personal preference. Pray about it. It’s your call.
“What is your cancellation policy?”
Answer: Since the things we buy are not refundable, if you have to cancel before we buy anything, you can get a full refund. If you cancel after the deadline to sign up, we will refund you whatever we can. After the deadline, the costs that we have paid, or are under contract for, will have to be paid by us. Those costs will come out of whatever refund we can give you.
“When are you going to host a retreat on the west coast?”
Answer: This retreat is a labor of love. We love doing it. In light of that, it takes a lot of work, and we make no money on it. In addition, people come to our retreat from all over the country…even the West coast. The work involved, combined with us making no money from it, and the fact that people already come to our retreat from the West Coast, all adds up to a virtual unlikelihood that we would ever do the retreat on the West coast.
“I don’t have the money right now, but I want to come. Is there something we can work out?”
Answer: If you need to work something out in terms of financial payments, call me at 813-298-6678. I will do my absolute best to work something out with you. I have done it before. Every single time someone really wanted to come, and it was simply an issue of not having the money right away, but they would have it later, we were able to get them to the retreat. I’m not saying it will always work out that way, because ever situation is different. But I believe in this retreat, and how God can use it to bless your relationship, that I will do whatever I can to help you get here.