Alongside is unique in its ministry to both the person and to their most important, intimate relationships. We know that when the adults in the family are in pain, the children often suffer as well. We have developed both a children’s and youth (teen) program based on the same material the parents cover in their seminars. These programs are designed for and adjusted to fit the age and developmental needs of the kids attending each retreat. We are staffed to be able to care for children from infancy through adolescence.
Listening, acceptance, flexibility, and community characterize our youth (teen) program. The program is made up of seminar sessions that the teens participate in with each other, followed by time with our youth staff to discuss the material and pursue learning activities. Teens learn from our staff, process what they are learning, and apply it to their hearts and lives.
Children participating in the Early Childhood Program will have lessons tailored to the unique learning of young participants. Each day, there are hands-on activities and materials that break down abstract ideas into tangible learning opportunities. Experienced staff facilitate interactive play and work with each child’s specific needs. Our teacher to child ratio is an important aspect of developing meaningful relationships with each child while attending the program. Within the children’s space, there are napping facilities to accommodate each child’s routine.
The Elementary-Age Program encourages friendship, learning, and sharing experiences. Each lesson is designed to inspire a new way of thinking about the world around us and how we experience emotions. Topics are discussed with conversations and questions, books, topical videos, and activities. There are community-focused times built-in to each day and group games led by our experienced staff to encourage friendship among the children. The goal is for each child to learn more about loving others and seeing themselves as God created them.
The Youth Program is designed to be a place for community building. Flexibility, being heard and accepted right where they are in a space specifically designed for them is the goal. Their story and their thoughts are important. The program will flex, and will be focused on common language similar to adult seminar topics each day. Building community and just “being” are important components of the teen program as we learn and grow together. It is our hope that teens will walk away knowing others, themselves and God better. Believing that The Father has been involved in every aspect of their time together here at Alongside.
Best of all, children and teens are learning and exploring the same content areas as their parents in the adult seminars. This creates opportunities for families to have important conversations around topics like loss and grief, transition, being a third-culture kid, stress management and resilience, anxiety, conflict, emotions, and facing adversity. While the child and youth programs are not counseling programs, they are often therapeutic for kids and their families.
6701 Alongside Lane, Richland, MI 49083-0587
P: 866.944.3011 (toll free)
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