Families Grow During Project Patch 'Family Experience'

August 12, 2015 | Chuck Hagele

It isn’t easy being a family. Families are filled with people with different personalities, opinions and ways to solve problems. The James family is a pretty typical family with a dad, a mom and two teen girls. Carol felt stressed trying to keep everything going. Kevin felt trapped in the demands of a stressful job and home life. The girls, Morgan and Rachel, struggled with independence and not understanding why there was so much tension. They were a normal family that decided to do something unusual. They chose to do something about it by attending the Family Experience, Project Patch’s program to help families thrive.

Project Patch staff believe the family is one of God’s masterpieces that not only benefits the kids but also helps parents develop into the people God designed them to be. It isn’t a coincidence that families are being stretched and pulled apart because all beautiful character-molding things that God created are under attack.

Every family benefits from spending time learning about uniqueness of individuals, communication, conflict skills and seeking values that pull the family together. The James family discovered that Mom’s personality focused on accomplishing tasks, while Dad and one sister recharged with people. Morgan discovered she and her mom have similar personalities, which explained why it was difficult for them to work together at times. 

The program works because it is a combination of coaching and challenging activities. In their work with teens for the past 31 years, the Project Patch team found that learning takes place best when it includes activities that create an understanding of a need followed up by learning skills and then reinforced with more activities. So at the family program, the whole family does activities, is coached in skills and has a chance to practice in another fun activity. “We gained so much insight from those activities, and it was so much fun," Kevin says.

This all takes place on a scenic 500-acre family resort outside of Goldendale, Wash. Families are spoiled with amazing food prepared by a chef, beautifully decorated private rooms or cabins, and a variety of fun things to do like disc golf, dunk court, hiking, pickle ball, a huge playground, and a bunch of indoor games and puzzles.

This one-weekend getaway helped the James family. Carol shares, “We talk about our values and how to incorporate them into our daily lives.”

For Kevin, the weekend “made us more tolerant of each other’s quarks and helped us see that we have an incredible bond that’s worth fighting for.”

Morgan realized “that we can use our different personalities to work together.”

For Rachel the most lasting result of the weekend was easy to find: “We don’t argue as much.”

For families searching to be closer, Carol says, “You must go. Your family is too important not to go.”

The Family Experience is a three-night, four-day program beginning on Thursday evening. This program is helpful for families of all types, including two-parent families, single-parent homes, blended families and grandparents raising grandchildren. You can find out more about attending or supporting other families to attend by visiting thefamilyexperience.org or by calling 360-690-8495.