Frequently Asked Questions

For Retreat Families

How do I apply?

If you are a family walking the journey of childhood cancer and heard about Starlite Shores Family Camp (SSFC) from a friend, fellow cancer family, your hospital, Facebook etc. you can apply by visiting the Experience It tab and fill out an online application. Applications will be open early Spring 2023. Children must receive medical consent from their oncology health care team, consenting that the child is well enough to attend the retreat. The consent form will be sent to you and you are responsible for submitting the consent form within 8 days of attending the retreat.

How does my family qualify to attend a retreat?

For SSFC 2023, any family that has a child (age 0-18) that is on treatment for cancer or has completed treatment in the year 2022 (with some exceptions)  may apply to attend the 2023 August retreat held at Gull Lake Ministries . Immediate family members who reside in the home of the child on treatment are welcome to attend. Single parents are welcome to apply.

What is the cost to my family?

The cost of the retreat (lodging, meals, snacks and all “planned” activities) is free to you as the expenses are covered by generous donors and our Host Families. However, you are responsible to pay for your own travel to and from the retreat.

What does a week at SSFC look like?

The retreat begins with your arrival on Wednesday afternoon, and continues with many activities created to allow time for fun, relaxation, renewal and restoration as a family. Each morning starts with breakfast and an all guest worship time called Morning Watch. After Morning Watch, parents have the opportunity to connect with other parents in a safe, facilitated environment called Common Ground. While parents are away, kids will play! Kids will be separated into groups called Flip Flop groups by age and gender for a time of fun and activities!

After lunch it is R & R time. Relax, take a nap, swim in the lake, or spend time at the beach! Each night is a themed activity designed for fun—from a parents’ night out to a carnival for the kids!

Where will we be staying?

There are many lodging options for the week at Gull Lake Ministries. The leadership team will place your family in one of the lodges or a cottage depending on your family size. Your family will have their own room and bathroom in the lodge and only one family will be housed in a cottage. Laundry facilities will be available if necessary.

For Host Families

How can I apply to serve as a Host Family?

You can apply online. Visit the Experience It tab for more information. Applications for the August 2023 retreat will be open early Spring 2023.

How much does it cost? Will I need to fundraise?

Once you are accepted to attend a retreat (SSFC leadership will confirm this with you within 30 days of your application) you will be responsible to pay/fundraise for your family to attend. Adults and those 18 and older are required to raise $700 per adult and $350 per child 17 and under. SSFC will provide fundraising ideas to support you along your fundraising journey.

How can I know who has donated towards our “fund”?

Checks can be mailed to Starlite Shores Family Camp, P.O. Box 369, Byron Center, MI 49315 with your family name in the memo line. We will keep you informed by email of your current total raised.

Money can also be donated online through the Ways to Help tab and by Becoming a Donor. Please include a note about what family the funds are going to.

Please inform donors in your fundraising letters that they need to designate who the money is to be applied to.

How exactly do we serve the families?

We will serve the Retreat Families, those living through childhood cancer, in many ways during the week of the retreat. We want to create an environment where they can leave the worries of childhood cancer behind them and rest, restore their relationships and relax. We do this by taking care of and serving all of their meals and watching children while parents enjoy a time called Common Ground. The parents of children with cancer will be treated to a special night out and all of the adult and child hosts will be having fun with the kids while the parents are away.

How will I be prepared/trained to serve?

You will receive a host manual and you will be required to attend a host family meeting/training about a month prior to the retreat. If you live outside of the Grand Rapids area, arrangements will be made to ensure that you are equipped and ready to serve at the retreat and that you have the information you need.

How old do I have to be to serve by myself?

Adults 18 years or older can attend a retreat by themselves without an adult present. Special arrangements can be made in advance for kids coming with a youth leader or other family/adult.

How will I know whom I will be serving?

Each Host Family is paired with one Retreat Family. Your Retreat Family information, as well as who you will be rooming with, and what teams you will be serving on, will be given to you once you arrive at the retreat. Leaders of Flip Flop groups will be  asked in advance if they are willing to have that responsibility at camp and will be given the necessary training material that is needed for this.

How many people are on a retreat?

We are looking forward to serving 15-18 Retreat Families in August of 2023. In order to provide a special experience for everyone we will be looking for 15-18 Host Families as well to serve these special families for the week.

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