TALIHINA—Summer time calls for fun times in the sunshine. The Leflore Association gave foster families an opportunity to create fun summer time together at the Foster Family Retreat, a three-day annual event.

The Foster Family Retreat is a partnership between the Leflore Association and the Department of Human Services (DHS), held at Kiamichi Baptist Assembly (KBA) campgrounds in Talihina.

“It allows foster families an opportunity to enjoy a funpacked weekend in a campground setting while being able to acquire nine of the 12 hours of their annual certification requirement,” said Neil O’Donnell, director of missions in Leflore Association.

“The entire family is able to enjoy all of the camps’ facilities together, including kayaks, fishing, water slides, ropes course, archery, horseshoes, basketball, petting zoo, kiddie fishing pond, bounce house or just relaxing under the giant Kiamichi mountain shade trees,” O’Donnell said.

Foster Care Retreat allows families summer fun and training - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma 1

Kids enjoyed all the activities offered at KBA.

The entire weekend is free of charge to the foster families who participate.

Those who organize the event understand how busy and difficult the rest of the year can be for these families and hope that this weekend can help them leave relaxed and recharged.

“Our goal is to make each and every person feel special during the time they spend with us. We want families to leave the retreat feeling refreshed and ready for the coming school year,” O’Donnell said.

The retreat also included official training that foster parents are required to fulfill each year. Some topics included “Childhood Domestic Violence” and “Budgeting, Financial Planning and Taxes Overview.”

“One of the highlights was on Saturday morning when Tricia Howell, Department of Human Services Assistant Child Welfare Director of Operations, stopped in to welcome the foster families,” O’Donnell said. “She took the time to visit and answer questions before the foster parents headed off for their morning training.”

The weekend was accomplished through the volunteer work of several churches and workers from DHS.

Foster Care Retreat allows families summer fun and training - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma 2

Many volunteers from different churches served during the Foster Care Retreat.

“I cannot say enough about those who helped in the nursery, the registration, the feeding center, the training and servants who were given the tasks of liaison in each cabin,” O’Donnell said.

“Also, thank you to the KBA staff and director as they were always helpful and very welcoming to our guest.

“We would appreciate prayers as we continue to work to serve God and grow His kingdom.”

For more information on how to serve through this event, visit www.lefloreassociation.org. For more information about Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s One Such Child foster care program, which provided assistance for the event, visit www.obhc.org/onesuchchild.