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The Magic Continues

This post was authored by Inheritance of Hope volunteer Mary Finch.

Today the families got to explore the Disney Parks once again.  Some chose to see wildlife in Animal Kingdom while others chose to check out the classics in the Magic Kingdom.  Either way, a fun time was had by all.

The Hurlbut family especially had fun visiting the main attractions at Epcot including, but by no means limited to, Soarin’, Test Track, and Ellen’s Dream.

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Another fun-filled day!

After another morning of productive group time gaining tools to navigate the challenges they face, families set off for the Disney parks with their park hopper passes.  Despite the crazy winter weather moving through the Southeast, we had another sunny day in Orlando  with highs in the 60's.

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A Magical Day

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No doubt this day was special!  All of the families had a wonderful time in the Disney Parks and there were lots of smiles and stories to share this evening.

DSC_0147Please check out all the twitter feeds to read the moment by moment action by each family.  I must admit I have delegated out my "tweeting" to a very lovely and capable volunteer named Jacey.  She is gifted with words and enthusiasm and I know she enjoys keeping everyone up-to-date with the families and activities of this Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat.  (Thanks Jacey!)

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Sunny Orlando

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It's a great day in Orlando Florida.  The sun is shining.  The temperatures are in the 70s. All of the families and volunteers are well-rested after a good night's sleep.

DSC_0257We met for breakfast this morning and then had a counseling session, followed by lunch at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.  The children had a wonderful time in their morning session and have already seemed to form some incredible friendships with the other children as well as the volunteers and staff.  There always seems to be a lot of noise coming from the children's sessions as they laugh and joke and play together.  All the while they are learning some major lessons in anger management, how to handle fears, hurts and frustrations, and communication skills.  It is difficult to describe the bonds that these children feel with one another as they share these unique and difficult circumstances.

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Everyone is Here!

All the Families with Mickey Mouse

Everyone has arrived!

The weather in Orlando today was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was shining and the temperatures were in the 60s and 70s.

We were so excited to welcome families from Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, New York, California, North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, West Virginia, and Florida.

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Until We Meet Again

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It is hard to believe we have only known each other 3 days.  These past few days have really bonded us all together in such a wonderful and special way.  The children created some very special relationships with our volunteers and staff.  I heard more then one of them say they "don't want to leave" (Gage) and "wish they could stay together longer." (Jordan and Justin)  This children are leaving with some amazing memories with their families, some wonderful new friendships with the volunteers and other family members and some tools to help manage and work through their personal struggles and fears.

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A Day Packed With Fun!

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The weather continued to amaze us all day today as the temperatures remained around 60 degrees all afternoon and evening.  The families walked about 4 blocks to Radio City Music Hall after lunch and enjoyed the legendary Christmas Spectacular Show featuring the Rockettes.  The children and adults alike were thrilled with the show and also the drinks and popcorn they got to enjoy during it.

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Ready for Times Square

Our first Times Square Legacy Retreat begins tomorrow!

Night view from Hotel Novotel

Night view from Hotel Novotel

After months of anticipation, the Times Square Legacy Retreat is almost here!  Our volunteers have arrived from all across the country, and we all met tonight to make our final preparations.

I feel very blessed to have so many volunteers returning after serving at previous Legacy Retreats.  Eight people volunteering this weekend are experienced pros, and I can't imagine doing these retreats without them.  Their understanding of what to do and how and when to do it is invaluable, and they make everything so much fun.

We also have a couple of newcomers to our volunteer team, and I am excited about the energy they bring.

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Introducing Live Updates

Stay up-to-date with the NYC Legacy Retreat!

For our Times Square Legacy Retreat, I am excited to introduce two new online features!   During the entire retreat I will be posting live updates on both this blog and Twitter.  I hope these tools will help friends, family, and supporters stay up-to-date on our experiences in NYC.  Check back often to keep up with us!

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NYC Legacy Retreat

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Most of my days are spent planning, coordinating and thinking about the upcoming Legacy Retreat in New York City.  I am very excited to meet these 9 families and I am excited for them to meet each other.  I was privileged to meet one of the families (pictured above) attending this Retreat  a couple of years ago.  I didn't know our paths would cross again but clearly that was the plan!  Check out my friend Nikki Farley's recent post on her husband's caringbridge site regarding the timing of this Legacy Retreat for their family.

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