We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing week we just had in Bali at the Family Adventure Summit with the incredible people who are part of this global community!
We have never felt so connected to each other, in a spirit of support and encouragement. And the ways we came together like a family in support of continuing these events is like nothing we’ve ever experienced. We want to extend a big Thank You to everyone who contributed to make this event special, from those who volunteered, those who made extra financial donations, and also every single attendee who showed up and exemplified the core values of Family Adventure Summit: Acceptance, Kindness, Courage, Adventure, and Sustainability.
So much happened this week that it would fill pages. But we’d like to share a little summary of the highlights below, along with a highlights video, and an invitation for each of you to join us next year. (Announcement on location and dates coming soon!)
This year brought in around 300 people (75 families), beginning with an Opening Social dinner party, where we got to visit together over a delicious Indonesian buffet, and watched a live Kecak dance performance! (If you haven’t seen one, it’s like nothing else out there).
Other cultural performances and activities throughout the event included a traditional Balinese blessing ceremony, a Balinese dance performance, Balinese offering making (for the kids), and a lot of other activities in the kids program focused on the local culture, language, music, and arts (the kids even learned how to do kecak!).
Like every year, we were so touched by the amazing children who came to this event. The inclusivity and acceptance that is shown, as well as the maturity of the older children and teens is astounding. The joy on the kids faces when they get to spend time with friends, and do things they love is just awesome! This year, facilitated programs in art, technology, sports, musical theater, many impromptu pool parties and more filled their week. Many different groups worked together to contribute toward the musical theater production the kids performed on the last day, before our dance party.
While the kids were engaged in their activities, the adults enjoyed several dozen keynote speeches, sessions, round table discussions, and unconferences where a huge diversity of topics were discussed. We focused a lot this year on the core values in our sessions, as well as in our family activities from drum circles to family art projects.
We really want to set a standard for family travelers worldwide to think about ways to travel more responsibly, cultivate greater cultural understanding and awareness, and appreciate the global diversity that so enhances our planet. Of course, more practical topics also came up, from finding cheap flights, to business strategies, communication for couples and families, consent and social media, and so much more (including non-cerebral activities like qigong). You can see the full program we ran for the adults here.
On the last day, instead of announcing next year’s event like we normally do, we got a bit vulnerable and shared how we’ve struggled to make Family Adventure Summit work sustainably from both a financial standpoint (this year, we were several thousand dollars in the hole), and from an energy standpoint, with the amount of effort required by our founding families year-round to put on this event each year.
We created a survey and asked the community what they would like to see moving forward, and for ideas for how we can do this in a sustainable way. The response was incredible! Not only did we receive very positive survey responses, but members of this community are so committed to seeing Family Adventure Summit continue that they decided to start a fundraiser at our closing dance party, and began pitching in money to put us in the black in this year.
We were overwhelmed by this generous gesture of appreciation, and we received a total of $4,700 in donations, which not only put us back in the black, but left us with some profits we can now donate to Refill My Bottle, our chosen charity for this year!
In addition, we’ve received an outpouring of responses from people offering to help out however they can to make sure this event keeps happening. Many people have said how this event has changed their life, has given their family a sense of freedom and connection, has helped their children finally come out of their shell to feel safe and accepted for who they are, and that it is the highlight of their year for both them and their kids. Many people said they plan their entire year around this event, and they’ll come wherever we hold it.
More than ever, we feel so supported and appreciated and grateful to be a part of such a loving community. And we’ve realized how much we all need each other, and how much we need events like this to bring us together to receive support and encouragement on the journey. Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to keeping this going! We are already creating plans for next year’s event, taking into account the feedback we’ve received, and we hope to announce that shortly.
If you were not at this year’s event, and you would like to share your thoughts with us on what kind of community event you would like to see moving forward (including location), you can fill out the survey here. Please just skip any questions relating to this year’s event, such as the first page.
Whether or not you were at Family Adventure Summit this year, we’d love to hear from you! We also invite you to share your stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about how Family Adventure Summit connected you with new friends, how it’s helped your children, how it’s opened your mind to new ideas, helped you find support in a time of need, or simply how you love this community. Use hashtag #familyadventuresummit so we can be sure to see it.
Thank you all for being part of this community with us! We love you and we look forward to seeing you on the road and at the next Family Adventure Summit!
Brandon and Jennifer Pearce, Amy Sztupovszky, and Jennifer Sutherland-Miller