2019 Teen Retreat Highlights
Inspired, empowered, life-changing, and FAMILY were just a few words used by parents evaluating the 2019 FAACT Teen Retreat. Almost one hundred parents and teens descended upon Oak Brook, Illinois for three days of learning, sharing and connecting as a community. Formerly the site of the McDonald’s Hamburger University, the Hyatt Lodge & Conference Center provided a soothing, woodsy backdrop for FAACT's Teen Retreat. But, the highlight of the weekend was stolen by the heartwarming conclusion of the retreat: the teen and parent anonymous question and answer session. There were tears, laughs, and heartfelt moments as FAACT provided a safe and comfortable environment for the hard questions to be asked, and solutions explored.
Acclaimed inspirational speaker, juggler and entertainer, Curtis Zimmerman, greeted parents and teens with a lively, interactive Welcome session Friday evening. Zimmerman, who understands allergies and lives with Celiac disease, entertained families, while challenging the group to step out of their comfort zone, open their minds, and to be ready to have their lives changed.
The next two days were packed full of presentations from renown board-certified allergists, researchers and experts. Topics included new food allergy treatments, deep dives into anaphylaxis and anxiety, plus sessions addressing prepping for high school and/or college. The retreat was divided into two tracts, one for parents and one for teens, setting the stage for open and honest conversations. Considering age appropriate discussions, a few teen sessions were divided by school grade levels - middle school and high school.
Learning how to prepare to head out to school functions, dating (yes, kissing was discussed with high schoolers), how to communicate and express emotions, Q&A with board-certified allergists, and more were addressed with eager-to-learn teens.
The goal was to empower parents and teens with knowledge and information to live healthy and successful lives while managing food allergies. The magic was not Zimmerman’s fire-eating or knife-juggling, but those wonderous moments when as a parent, you realize you are human, imperfect and perfect all at the same time. Sitting in a room full of peers who know the road you walk, understand your frustrations, and cheer on your success is a gift. The weekend was a gift enjoyed by many families like ours, as we all work hard to raise our children to thrive with food allergies and prepare them for the next stage of their lives. We love being a part of the FAACT Family!
If you have a pre-teen and/or teen, FAACT's Teen Retreat is a MUST!