There’s something special about camping. Our family didn’t do much (read: “any”) camping when I was growing up, and this was just fine. When we took our annual trip to Cedar Point with another family, they stayed in the campground and we stayed in Hotel Breakers. Not bad.

Against all odds, though, camping has become a “thing” for the Stanley family. Each of the last several summers we have spent at least three days away in a state park campground, and the memories are great. The kids love it, the adults get to unwind and unplug, and things just happen at an altogether different pace.

I admit, each year when it comes time for the Father & Child Retreat, I get a little nervous. My wife is an outstanding prepper and, given the lack of a zombie apocalypse, she is able to focus these prepping skills on the myriad items we take camping. Though we’re not minimalists, she is quite efficient at getting us what we need where we need it and then maintaining the essentials of the campsite with skill. Knowing that she’s not around to take care of such things at the Father & Child Retreat gives me a vague sense of discomfort. With elementary-aged kids, I know I’ll have to be locked in.

But a funny thing happens when I get to the retreat (which many camping aficionados would confirm based on their own experience). There’s work to be done, but there’s a lot of relaxation as well. There’s always something you enjoy and that you want to duplicate when you return home, whether that be the lack of electronics, increased time spent outside, or just a greater degree of margin. To be able to experience this with other like-minded guys and their sons and daughters is a special thing, and certainly well-worth the packing and lack of air conditioning. (It was really hot last year, but thankfully God created shade long ago. Plus, since the Mohican River is about six inches deep in places, it’s pretty easy to hang out in the water and literally chill.)

Dads and guardians, this year I hope you’ll join me and my kids for the Father & Child Retreat. Take a little working vacation for a refreshing change of pace. Lord willing we can connect in the river, at the archery area, or at the nightly bonfires. Just don’t ask me to beat box again; I did that at the first talent show and am running out of material.

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Beau Stanley and his wife, Stacey, both grew up in the Columbus area and have been part of Grace Polaris Church for most of their lives. Beau joined the Grace staff in 2007 after theology studies in the Chicago area and in Phoenix (Phoenix Seminary). Prior to that, he studied commerce (University of Virginia) and worked in the financial industry, including a role as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Beau is a fitness enthusiast and also enjoys music and learning about diverse topics. Beau and Stacey have two young boys.

The 2017 Father & Child Retreat runs Friday–Sunday, July 28–30, at Mohican Wilderness. Learn more and register by July 10 at