SonRise Camp and Retreats are a transformative experience, offering adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and volunteers of all ages the opportunity to build Christian community. All aspects of each retreat session, including woodcrafts, Bible study, recreation, praying, and singing, reinforce Bible-based lessons and lead to spiritual growth.
Youth and adult volunteers, beginning with high school-aged youth (including those who will be freshmen in fall), receive training that covers important issues such as communication, etiquette, personal care and sensitivity to people who have developmental disabilities. Companions are paired, one-on-one, with people with developmental disabilities, sharing cabins, participating in activities and assisting with daily living needs. Adult volunteers may also serve as cabin and woodcraft leaders, nurses and kitchen crew.
The mission of SonRise Camps and Retreats is to equip Christian leaders to create an authentic Christian community that reaches out and draws everyone closer to Christ.
SonRise Retreat Center, 6720 Ridgeview Rd., Anderson, IN 46013
The SonRise Retreat Center is set on 14 wooded acres that once housed the historical country and western music concert park, Mockingbird Hill. Facilities include an air-conditioned, 25,000-square-foot retreat center that houses a chapel, dining hall and five sleeping cabins. SonRise is also planning and fundraising for an accessible swimming pool, paved trails and an outdoor shelter.
SonRise summer retreat is a five-day, four-night Bible program for youth and adult volunteers and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Volunteer orientation begins on Monday morning. Retreat participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities arrive Tuesday morning. Retreats conclude at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Annually, eight summer sessions provide an experience for up to 240 participants with developmental disabilities and more than 500 volunteers who serve as one-on-one companions and in other support roles.
Photos from 2012
2013 Summer Sessions
June 10 to 15
June 17 to 22
June 24 to 29
July 8 to 13
July 15 to 20
July 22 to 27
July 29 to Aug. 3
Aug. 5 to 10
Applications and Cost
The recommended donation for a volunteer attending one week of summer retreat is $125. (Volunteers attending more than one session do not need to make a second donation.)
Download: Volunteer Application
The cost for a retreat participant is $495 (discounted rates for full up-front payments are available, see application for details). Due to high demand, submit application early. Participants with developmental disabilities may only attend one session per summer.
Download: Application for a participant with a developmental disability
SonRise Retreats; September through April
SonRise Retreats are held over weekends, from Friday through Sunday. Volunteer companions and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are paired and empowered to build one-on-one relationships. Activities include Bible study, arts and crafts, karaoke, dancing, hiking and campfires. The retreat cost for a person with a developmental disability is $165. Due to high demand, submit application early. Retreat participants with developmental disabilities may attend up to three weekend sessions during each summer. The recommended donation for a retreat volunteer is $65.
Download: Weekend Retreat Application; Participant with a Disability
Download: Weekend Retreat Application; Volunteer
2013 Retreat Sessions
Jan. 18 to 20
Feb. 15 to 17
March 8 to 10
April 12 to 14
Sept. 27 to 29
Oct. 18 to 20
Nov. 8 to 10
I've been leading high school mission trips for more than 10 years, and no other experience has come close to generating the spiritual fruit that God produces through SonRise. Every year, our kids show up with wide eyes, doubting themselves, and wondering why they signed up for this trip in the first place. Yet, by the end of the week, each student realizes that God provided them a glimpse of what heaven will be like, where our looks, status, and successes don't matter. They experience the unconditional love of God, which is something they have heard many times before, but rarely experience. If you are looking for a high challenge, high reward mission trip, this is it!
Minister to Youth and Families, DCE Our Father Lutheran
Our youth group first attended SonRise in the summer of 2006. I knew this trip would take many of our youth outside their comfort zone. I felt God was calling us to serve in this type of ministry, and I took a leap of faith. We have returned every summer since, with much bigger groups and we even have youth who will go back two or three weeks each summer. Most of my youth describe SonRise as: “the closest to heaven you’ll get on earth.” They are greatly affected by the strong and open faith of their friends and the unconditional love shared by everyone there. Most discover they are capable of much more than they had thought in caring for the physical and social needs of their friends, and many have wanted to be paired with someone needing even greater assistance the next year. I find SonRise provides an incredibly nurturing and safe environment for youth to go outside their comfort zones, because I know the interns and staff from SonRise will offer plenty of support and encouragement. It can be cliché in youth ministry to call mission trips “life-changing,” but for many of our youth, their SonRise experiences have indeed been life-changing. If you are considering serving at SonRise with your youth mission trip, I say take the leap of faith! Go and see for yourself the amazing work that God does through our friends with disabilities!
Director of Youth Ministry Hope Lutheran
The dance, karaoke and interactive worship services.
SonRise offers 14 ten-week summer internship positions. Eligible college students will have an opportunity to grow in their faith, understand their identity in Christ, sharpen leadership skills, and work and live in a Christian community with other volunteers and people with disabilities.
Bethesda interns are required to provide personal care for people with developmental disabilities, model the companion attitude, lead Bible studies and activities and encourage their companions. Lead interns serve as directors and assistant directors. Interns are expected to attend a winter retreat during the first week of January and a two-week orientation after Memorial Day. The summer retreat season consists of two weeks of orientation and eight weeks of retreats.
Download: Internship application
Call 877-642-9902 or email SonRise@mailblc.org
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