CFRI Retreat – 2013 Version
The 2013 version(Party of a Lifetime) of CFRI Retreat was another amazing success! With Jessica Martens and her committee leading the way, the retreat was full of fun, education, exercise, laughter, and tears. CF participants aged in range from 17-56, with two people in their 50s and several now in their 40s and late 30s. YES, we are getting older and wiser!
The retreat started on Sunday, August 11th this year, and ended on Friday, August 16th around noon. Several people came from far and near to attend, one person each from Kentucky and Missouri, several from the Denver area, and many from more than 100 miles away within California. 20-25 adults with CF attended during the week, and because some had to work during retreat hours, the numbers varied a little day by day.
As always, the retreat was well-organized, with exercise, education, and comedy a part of every day. Seven rap sessions were scheduled as well, with CFers/non-CFers alike participating in discussion, listening, mentoring, and supporting each other with the challenges we face. Some participants are always going through especially difficult times, and this year was no different. Many people face significant transitions, and to hear how others handled similar situations with both good and bad results can help one decide on limited options at times. You can always feel the love of each other in our rap sessions.
The VallembrosaCenter in Menlo Park where retreat has taken place for many years is always very supportive of our group. I found the people working the cafeteria were especially helpful this year in serving our food and volunteering to help us in any way they could. In addition, the CFRI volunteers were awesome as well. They too ranged from college age to 73, and went out of there way several times to make sure we had a safe and clean environment given our medical conditions. Without their help, the retreat would be extremely difficult to pull off.
Talent/Awards night almost always finishes off a good retreat, and this year was no exception. With little notice and on the spot comedy, it somehow always comes together with belly laughs and tears of laughter for many. Every year the rookie retreatants are held to tour the “African frontier” and endure the “gray squirrel” dance, traditions that should live on forever. Our newlywed game always has a few surprises, and people who are not camera-shy can bring it on at their leisure.
I look forward to next year when this somewhat insane group get together again and explore the creativity in all of us. At the end of the day, however, you know you have left the retreat feeling energized and better for what lies ahead in life.