Gravatt Camp is offering its second Christmas retreat to military families and it needs a little help in giving back to the troops as well as their loved ones.
The Aiken nonprofit, established in 1949 and located on 260 acres, is working with the Warrior Transition Battalion of Fort Gordon to offer this event that will give families a chance to spend time together in a worry-free environment. Gravatt Camp is asking any interested businesses or individuals in the community to reach out and volunteer their time or resources for this retreat.
“It's a time to shed all their worries, to be taken care of, to relax, to focus on their families and enjoy the holidays,” said Meredith Cook, Gravatt Camp director of marketing and development. “It's a wonderful opportunity to give back to them.”
Cook said the retreat is for Fort Gordon families who are unable to leave for the holidays whether it's because of medical conditions, duties or finances.
More than 40 participants attended the first holiday retreat held last year. Cook said the community played a huge role in helping Gravatt Camp make the event a great success. Time, money, baked goods, entertainment and even gifts were provided to the families who didn't have to spend a single penny for the few days of fun.
The families spent those days singing carols, decorating, making gingerbread houses and participating in many other activities, Cook said.
Robin Storey, social services assistant for the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion, said it's a great opportunity for the community to give back to the troops. She said that, currently, about 1 percent of the United States population serves, and many people are unaware of what these military families go through.
“Families have sacrificed since 9/11 in ways that a lot of people don't understand,” Storey said. “This is a chance for those in the community to show their appreciation for what the service members do and have an understanding of the challenges an entire family faces.”
Volunteers are needed to provide meals, entertainment and other services. Donations of gifts are also accepted.
Anyone interested can also sponsor a family to attend the retreat which covers lodging, programming and staff. To sponsor a family of four, it's $1,000 and it's $250 for an individual.
For more information, call 648-1817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The retreat will be held Dec. 19 through 22.
Gravatt is an Episcopal summer camp and conference center that offers an outdoor Christian Camp, environmental education and more. For more information on this organization, visit www.bishopgravatt.org.