Uniquely the Same

All are welcome. Each one celebrated.

Joni & Friends Family Retreats

Each summer there are multiple Joni & Friends Family Retreats throughout the United States and the world. These retreats offer families affected by disability the opportunity to have an assisted family vacation. Uniquely the Same, Inc. supports these family retreats by mobilizing volunteers and family participants from the surrounding geography of Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the Washington DC area. Read over this page for all sorts of information and resources about the camps. If you need additional information, please contact us at 412-701-4432 or by Email.

Families Affected by Disability

Family Retreat is designed to give your special family a get-away that will refresh and encourage you. Similar to the other retreat locations, Shawnee Resort offers comfortable cabins and appealing lodges in the beautiful Shawnee State Park Ohio. Add this to the people - the special families and volunteers – who create an atmosphere of acceptance that sets the tone for the week. Families share in zany programs, accessible activities, and times of spiritual nurture. In short order, excitement runs high, laughter is frequent, and bonds of friendship are made. Months of planning and a trained staff assure a safe environment so that the Western Pennsylvania Family Retreat is one place your family will not only feel welcomed, but celebrated. Join us in order to make a memory that will last a lifetime. There is a $50 deposit to reserve your spot and retreat costs are kept low with scholarships available to those who have a need. Email us.

Short Term Missionaires (STMs) to Assist Families

Regardless of your level of experience, you can reach out in a meaningful way to one of the most unloved, unreached people groups right here in our own community - people affected by disability. We offer a one week opportunity to intensify your faith while making a lasting impact on others. If you join us, you'll help families experience all the excitement of being at camp: the recreation, the crafts, the games, and the outdoors. Together with other Short Term Missionaries you'll set an example of having fun and being still enough to hear the voice of God.

Many people are surprised to realize that 1 in every 5 people in the United States have a disability. Some of the families we serve have never been able to take a family vacation before because of the daily grind that is caused by the disability of one of their family members.

During the day you'll provide servant leadership with the children and youth…allowing moms and dads to attend seminars, hear passionate biblical teaching, and enjoy time together as a couple. You'll have free time in the afternoon to enjoy various amenities which may include climbing walls and ropes courses, mud pits, water sports and hiking trails. Then after free time you'll join back up with your family for exciting evening events.Through the simplicity of your service, you'll have the opportunity to build relationships where you can share the gospel... helping others find hope. Join us at the next retreat. Email us. Watch this (30 minute) video to see what it is like to be an STM.

Making Known the Opportunity

Uniquely the Same, Inc. is particularly anxious to support the Shawnee, OH Joni & Friends Family Retreat because it is the closest to our headquarters. It is our goal to increase the number of organizations in our region who are providing help, hope and love to families and individuals affected by disability.

Please look at the "Resources" listed on this page in order to find a number of relevant videos.

If you would like to help us spread the word about Uniquely the Same's Family Retreat efforts, please contact Cal Clark by Email or at 724-678-6390.


To learn more about Family Retreat options for those near Western Pennsylvania: Contact Calvin Clark at 724-678-6390 or contact him by Email.

A list of all the Joni and Friends Family Retreats in the United States and Abroad (and their respective points of contact) can be found here

Pittsburgh volunteers will be serving and attending a number of different retreats in 2017: 

  1. Shawnee in Friendship, OH (June 26-30)
  2. Shawnee II in Friendship, OH (July 24-28)

You can watch videos for the camps here. You will find videos that cover topics about

Here are excellent 30 minute videos that explain Joni and Friends Family Retreats in depth: 

  1. A look from the perspective of one camper affected by Down Syndrome "When Robin Prays."
  2. A look from the perspective of 4 camp volunteers "Family Retreat".
  3. A look at the experience of a camp volunteer "Katherine's Smile."

For the official Joni and Friends Family Retreat Website click here. Information for Families is found at this link. Joni and Friends also has specific pages for Volunteers/Short Term Missionaries .