The Wolf Creek Foundation sponsors and engages in activities and events that enrich and strengthen
the quality of life in our community, particularly for members of the military.

The Wolf Creek Foundation and AEF C.O.P.E. Retreat Program


In early 2006 a chance meeting between Steve Roberts, managing partner at Wolf Creek Utah, and a chaplain from Hill Air Force Base resulted in a program that has served over 1000 airmen and their families. Three or four times a year families that have someone scheduled to deploy within 30 days are invited to Wolf Creek for a complimentary weekend that includes luxury second home accommodations, all meals, world class recreation opportunities, a structured program to help both parents and children deal with deployment issues and a dinner dance.

This program has held Best Practice status within the Air Force for 2 years and several bases from around the U.S. are working to create something similar for their families.

One of the unique qualities of this program is what is done for the children. Several base organizations along with Air Force child development specialists take over the local junior high with a myriad of activities along with focused programming to help these children deal with the inherent fear and uneasiness that comes with a parent’s deployment.

Sue Munson, with the Wolf Creek Foundation, has noted that when these families arrive they have all of their emotional defenses up but that by the time they leave they are completely different people. This program truly makes a difference in people’s lives.

The following is a quote from an article that appeared in Airman’s Magazine

“I believe very strongly in the program,” said Trish Hammond. Her husband is Maj. Todd Hammond, commander of the 388th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. “I came up with 18 reasons why I couldn’t go. Now, I’m so glad I went. I went for my family. I went for my spouse and I went more, I think, for me.” The mother of two said, “I believe in it so much that I came up during the last retreat and stayed the weekend to help. And, I’m coming up in December to help.” Mrs. Hammond said, “I’m yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs to everyone I know, ‘You need to come here and do this.’ “If your loved one is leaving, it is important for your family,” she said. “It is important for your spouse but most importantly, it is important for you.”

The parents go through three training sessions put on by the base Chapel that thoroughly deal with the issues that arise during a spouses deployment as well as re-integration issues when the spouse returns.

Several seasoned officers have reported that in 25-30 careers they have never been offered anything as beneficial to their families as this program.

For more information on the location for the AEF C.O.P.E.

retreats go to

During a Typical Retreat

Each family receives a complimentary family photo. Many of these photos as well as pictures taken during the weekend have ended up in an airman’s helmet while on deployment

Each child receives a teddy bear that has a voicebox for the deploying parent to record a message for their son or daughter.

Families have time to reconnect with each other in a way that is not normally possible. They can choose to participate in the daily recreation opportunities or simply spend time with each other.

Some come to a retreat after their spouse has already deployed – this is always particularly poignant. We have a great DJ that gets everyone up on the dance floor and the “Daddy/Daughter” dance is very emotional for everyone on staff.

Families have opportunities to connect with each other and the spouse left behind leaves with a support system in place. Base commanders and Chaplain staff spend time getting to know the families during each retreat and families leave with the knowledge that they are not alone.

One of the unique qualities of this program is the lodging. Families stay in luxury second homes and condominiums that have largely been donated by the homeowners. Most of these families could not afford a weekend in this type of accommodations and the fact that the homeowner has donated it to them makes it even more meaningful.

Occasionally, a retreat weekend will fall on one of our Music in the Mountains concert nights. All the families are invited to the concert and in 2009 world renowned pianist and performer, Jon Schmidt, wrote a special song for the retreat participants and recorded it on his latest CD. When he performed it at the concert there was a crowd of 3000 on the mountainside and you could hear a pin drop. Those families were given a standing ovation. We believe it is very helpful to them to know they have that kind of support from the civilian community



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