I first heard about these retreats back when I took COMPASS in Norfolk, and I'd been wanting to go on one so badly! Now that B is on shore tour, it was much more feasible, but the CREDO website never had any listings of ones near us (most were in the Jacksonville FL area, which is too far of a hike). Apparently they don't list everything on their website, because I found out about this one from a friend and it was never listed until it was way past full. I also found out there was one in Mobile this coming weekend, which was never listed as well. My suggestion: call your chaplain and ask! I wish I had done that when we moved here. Anyway, I'm just glad we're getting to do this before Baby W arrives. It was very easy for us to get the call on Thursday and agree to go!
There were about 15 couples total, and most had kids of varying ages. Some of them had not had a weekend together away from their kids since they were born! There was maybe one other couple around our age, but the couples varied in length of marriage from under a year to 24 years. And as I said before, they put us up--FREE OF CHARGE--at a resort on the beach on Alabama's Gulf Coast. It did not disappoint! I saw the room bill when we checked in, and the going rate for this place right now is $150/night. We also got five meals for free. Thank you, military!
Here are a few pictures of the place:
|Yes, I dragged my body pillow there. Pregnant girl has to sleep somehow!|
|View from our room's balcony: inlet from the Gulf|
|Also a view from our balcony: the parking lot|
|Hotel as seen from beach|
|Best pic I could get of the pool. More pool on the opposite side of the bridge|
As for the retreat itself, it was done pretty well. Some of the stuff we had hashed out before and was a bit of a repeat from our pre-marital one-day class that the Catholic church made us take. Also, since I studied Child and Family Development in college, including a few classes on relationships and family life, I knew a lot of it. But I did learn a lot too! If anything, it was nice to just re-connect with my husband. We didn't turn on the TV all weekend (except to check football scores, but we did that together), we didn't have internet, and I didn't even bring a book with me. We were given some free time on Saturday afternoon to just have fun together, so we hit the beach and the pool. And took a nap :-)
Since the retreat is done by the chaplains, it was obviously religious in nature. CREDO actually stands for Chaplain's Religious Enrichment Development Operation. However, it was mostly just based on a belief in God. The name of Jesus was never spoken, but the chaplain did read the "Love is patient" passage from Corinthians at one point. That was about as religious as it got. Most of it just focused on communication and personality types, with a few other topics thrown in.
Overall, I would definitely recommend any of my military friends to take advantage of this opportunity! I know for some it may be hard because you never know when a schedule is going to change, but go ahead and sign up if you can. Then, if you need to cancel, there will be a very happy couple ready to take your spot. It doesn't cost anything, so it's not like you lose a deposit! There are also other types of retreats that they do, listed on their website. On their Facebook page, I even saw that they have done Family Retreats, where the kids come and you do it as a family. How cool is that?!