How Attending The #FamilyForward Retreat Strengthened My Family

family forward
Makeba Giles

Makeba Giles

Content Creator and Curator at MELISASource
Makeba Giles is an Health, Family, and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a Midwest Mother of four, and the Founder and Creative Director of MELISASource.com. |

EMAIL: [email protected]
Makeba Giles

As a parent, I spend many days and evenings searching for fresh ideas to bring my family closer together and keep our connection strong. As often as I plan family outings, movie nights at home, and other various activities, sometimes it seems as if it’s just not enough. As times change and the influence and of the media and technology increasingly evolve and take over and consume every family member’s attention, and more and more life challenges arise for us, I often worry that our strength as a unit may slowly and unknowingly slip away unless I stay abreast of new strategies to stop it.

.

With all that my family has endured in the last 12 months:  the suicides of 2 family members, sudden terminal illness of 2 others, accidents, career struggles, health challenges, communication issues, and adjustments to major life transitions, each one of us were fighting to handle everything in on our own, which was taking a toll on the household in a major way. No doubt, it pained me to see this happening to us. I was in need of tips and strategies we could use to work through our family challenges together.

.

Right at the moment when I’d began to lose hope; rescue came in the form of a personal invitation to attend the Family Forward Social Media Family Retreat in Orlando, Florida. The event was hosted by Mom It Forward, an online community of families and women which I had done some work for recently. The moment I saw the retreat’s theme Creating Super Hero Families I knew that the timing of the invitation was not a fluke—it was Heaven sent.

.

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando makeba giles melisasource

.

Held at Universal Orlando Resort, the four-day retreat gave us much more than just a break away from home life and taking time off the grid. The speaker sessions and hand-on workshops helped us to reconnect in ways that we never would have thought of on our own, and taught each of us some creative methods we can use to stick together and successfully navigate family challenges both big and small. The best part was that the wealth of family-building activities equipped me with lots of tools and ideas I can use to keep us flourishing in the face of adversity, provide stability in an age of constant change, and keep us all on common ground.

.

We arrived broken, but we left united.

.

Not only was our experience at the Family Forward Retreat one that we will always remember, but additionally everything that we learned, everything that we accomplished, and most importantly everything that we gained as a family—was invaluable.

.

Here is a glance of the event:

 .

The Location:

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

The retreat workshops and sessions took place at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in the Pacifica Ballroom

 .

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

 The Pacifica Ballroom hallway area is absolutely stunning. Such a wonderful space!

 .

 

The Workshops:

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

Mom It Forward’s Jyl Pattee shares the secrets of unlocking the 11 family super powers

 .

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

Heather Johnson gave very helpful tools to identify challenges and ‘villains’ that can attack families, and how to properly handle them when they arise. Also discussed by Facilitator Rachel Buchholz of National Geographic Kids was ways to identify each family members individual strengths, and how to use them to connect the entire family and make it stronger.

 .

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

Speaker Nathan McGee of Cricut and his daughter discuss the importance of family traditions and how they incorporate them into their everyday routines.

 .

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

There were many tips offered on traditions: particularly how families can combine old and new ones to make for a stronger family connection.

 .

 

The Activities:

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

The folks at Duck Tape Brand facilitated hands-on workshops that involved making a variety of fun family projects

.

 

Family Forward Retreat 2013 #FamilyForward UniversalOrlando

Over at Stage 32 at Universal Studios, presenter Michael Aiello shared how every family member can work together to live a creative family life, and how imagination can be used to help solve family problems.

.

 

. Some of the family team building activities also included special appearances by Universal’s characters, such as the Minions from the film Despicable Me.

. .

I am extremely grateful to Mom It Forward for hosting the Family Forward Social Media Family Retreat and for the invitation to attend. Because of being there, we are a better, much stronger (Super Hero) family.

 Family Forward Retreat

~A million and one thanks of gratitude to all of the sponsors:

 

Mom It Forward 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

 

Universal Orlando Resort

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

 

Southwest Airlines

Website | Facebook | Twitter  | YouTube

 

Cricut

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

 

Duck Tape

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

 

National Geographic Kids

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

.

 

*To see more of our experience from the Family Forward Retreat, >>click Here<<

Stay tuned for more!

Family Forward Retreat

More from Makeba Giles

Help Your Kids Love Science with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Samsung’s DIY STEM Program

About Latest Posts Makeba GilesContent Creator and Curator at MELISASourceMakeba Giles is...
Read More

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *