Darilyn Bixenman just wanted to reconnect with her teenage kids when she told her family they were all going to stay at Annunciation Heights near Estes Park for a family camp weekend.
The mom faced the usual adolescent pushback from her kids who expected a “cheesy” family camp experience, but the weekend became transformative for the family of five, she said.
“My husband and I felt like we hadn’t seen our teens all summer, so I just said, ‘we’re going,’” Bixenman said.
Annunciation Heights is an adventure camp for both families and youth located outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is one of the 40 ministries supported by the Archdiocese of Denver and the annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal.
The camp offers numerous outdoor activities where youth groups and families can reconnect with God, nature and each other.
“Camp allows families to step away from the busy-ness of life,” said Luke Hlavin, Assistant Camp Director, Annunciation Heights Youth and Family Camp. “With the sacraments and prayer as foundations to our outdoor camp experience, individuals and families can walk away refilled by the abundance of God’s love visible all around them.”
“Shortly, people all over the camp were hugging each other and crying and you could feel a sense of unexpected healing going on,” she said. “It felt so good, it became a tool and skill that we brought back from camp with us and we continue to use as a family at home.”
The spiritual activities are only part of the family experience, there are many outdoor activities for families to build their own adventure with zip lining, ropes courses, hiking, boating, fishing and archery.
“Here at Annunciation Heights, families can learn and grow, and have a blast doing it,” Hlavin said.