The scariest days of the pandemic are behind us, but CLC team members continue to benefit from a special partnership that grew out of the challenging environment of COVID-19. In 2021, recognizing the incredible strain team members were under, caring donors began providing opportunities for CLC team members and their families to experience rest and respite at the Historic Pines Ranch. Nestled in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains, Pines Ranch is a perfect setting to spend a few days recuperating and focusing on wellness.

The retreats were a remarkable success – team members who attended retreats during the pandemic had a 20% higher rate of retention than CLC’s average retention rate. This helped reduce turnover for critical positions, ensuring that residents continued to get high-quality care from team members they knew and trusted.

Time to get away, rest, and bond with family is just as important for team members now as it was then. The CDC notes that healthcare workers are at higher risk of burnout and mental health challenges due to the challenging nature of their work. Team members often work long hours and difficult circumstances with those they care for. Caring for others is sacred but emotionally challenging work.

Respite Retreat cupcakes

Last month, thanks to the continued care of kind donors like you, nine CLC team members spent a special weekend with their loved ones at a Pines Ranch respite retreat. Steve, the Executive Director at Sunny Vista, said, “The whole experience was lovely. The people at the ranch were extremely welcoming and friendly. My wife and I were thrilled to be able to take our kids and just enjoy one another’s company.”

Everyone’s experience at the respite retreat is unique. Team members seeking exercise and outdoor adventure enjoyed the rugged beauty of the mountains with hikes along the Rainbow Trail and beyond. Some enjoyed exploring the many shops and art galleries of the local town of Westcliffe. And there was plenty to enjoy at the ranch, where team members and their guests went horseback riding, attended yoga classes, experienced a professional massage, learned restful spiritual practices, and had one-on-one conversations with a licensed therapist.

Pines Ranch horseback riding

There were lots of opportunities for the littlest attendees to have fun, too. Kids enjoyed cupcake decorating, games, crafts, yoga, and horse experiences. “My children loved the activities, the hiking, and horseback riding. I have already told others about Pines Ranch, and that they must experience it!” said Denise, MDS Coordinator at Someren Glen. “To say I enjoyed my experience is an understatement. I am still reeling in all the feels so I can put into words my experience. I want to go back!”

Everything is optional, so team members and their guests could tailor their experience to what they needed most at that moment. During one CLC retreat, a team member slept the entire weekend, except for meals. The Pines Ranch team points to this as one of their favorite success stories of people finding exactly what they needed most during their retreat.

Respite Retreat group dinner

The retreat was also an opportunity for team members to get to know each other. While making s’mores around the campfire on the first night, two team members from different communities who often talk to each other on the phone got to meet in person for the first time. For dinner on the last night, attendees requested that all the tables be put together so that everyone could sit together and enjoy each other’s company. It was an uplifting experience of shared citizenship in the CLC community.

The team members are especially grateful for you, the caring supporters that provided them with this wonderful opportunity. Knowing that so many care for them and their well-being is incredibly impactful. “This opportunity means everything to me,” shared Denise. “My family has faced struggles in the past few years that are extremely hard to share. This opportunity allowed my family to be able to get away, rest, and enjoy ourselves. I am forever grateful!”

Steve agrees: “I appreciate all those who made this wonderful blessing possible. New friendships forged and many new happy memories were made. Thank you so very much!”

Later this month Pines Ranch will host another respite retreat for CLC, with a special focus on CNAs and their families. Thank you for making these amazing retreats possible! You are a blessing.

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