Weekend Retreat for Diverse Learners and Their Families

Unlocking the Path to College Success

You’re invited to attend EmpowerED Connections, an immersive weekend retreat designed to empower current 8th-11th grade students with ADHD, dyslexia and other learning differences – and their families. This comprehensive program is crafted to equip both students and parents with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to confidently navigate the transition to college.

Over this 3-day retreat, students engage in social activities and interactive sessions with their peers and college role models. Engaging Orlando-area destinations give students the opportunity to build social connections and develop their interpersonal skills while having fun. Concurrently, parents attend workshops on vital college transition topics and build community through with other parents of college-bound students.

Want to learn more? Join us on March 4 for a live virtual information session!

Upcoming Session Details:

  • Date: May 2-5, 2024
  • Location: The Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando Resort
  • All-inclusive* Cost: $2,750 (for up to 2 parents and 1 student in one shared hotel room)
*For more information on what is included, please check out the “What’s Included” information below.

Key Benefits of Attending

Social Development

Help your student with learning differences develop social confidence and connections.

Parent workshops

Hear from experts on topics that influence student success in college – and how you can start preparing now.


Establish community with student and parent peers who share your goals and challenges.

Family Unity

Improve communication strategies and collaboration around your student’s education.

Why Participate

EmpowerED Connections is not just a retreat; it’s a transformative experience. Join us to unlock the path to college success, connect with like-minded families, and build a support network that lasts a lifetime. 

Students will...

  1. Build social and emotional confidence designed to help them transition to the independent social environment of college. 
  2. Be introduced to the social norms of college students through peer mentoring and direct engagement.
  3. Develop teamwork, communication, and a sense of belonging in a fun and inclusive environment.
  4. Learn key college vocabulary and begin to understand critical aspects of financial aid, academic progress, and privacy laws.
  5. Increase their understanding of their responsibilities as a college student by learning more about college policies, rules, and expectations.
  6. Learn how to evaluate college options based on their own needs and preferences.

Parents will...

  1. Identify relevant IEP goals that support postsecondary transition.
  2. Deepen their understanding of ADA by discussing accommodations in college, roles of disability services, and responsibilities of students.
  3. Begin dissecting general education requirements and the rigor of college coursework in comparison to high school norms, especially those with learning disabilities.
  4. Learn best practices in coordinating support services inside and outside of the college or university.
  5. Develop a stronger understanding of FERPA and HIPAA so parents understand their support and communication model in college.
  6. Prepare for factors that impact college retention, persistence, and completion for individuals with disabilities.

Engaging Student Activities

Students build social and emotional confidence designed to help them transition to the independent social environment of college. Students will: 

• Participate in group activities and trips designed to foster social connections.
• Interact with current Beacon College student leaders to build a supportive peer network.
• Develop teamwork, communication, and a sense of belonging in a fun and inclusive environment.

Interactive Sessions

Each morning, families and students participate in joint interactive sessions designed to foster a supportive environment and encourage collaboration between parents and students.

Social Events and Networking

Parents have a unique opportunity to network with their peers – other families of diverse learners – and build a strong support network through shared experiences and goals.

Parent Workshops

While students are engaged in social activities, parents come together for informative workshops focused on college readiness for families – with strategies and takeaways you can begin using right away.

• Gain a realistic understanding of college readiness and how this applies to your student.
• Explore topics such as family communication, support systems, legal frameworks, and mental health in college.
• Connect with experts and fellow parents to share insights and experiences, including a live panel of current and past Beacon College families.

What's Included

  • •  Three (3) nights at the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando resort (one room for up to two parents and one student)
  • •  Transportation to and from the airport
  • •  Lunch and dinner throughout the program
  • •  All theme park tickets and excursions for students
  • •  Parent nightly socials
  • •  Pre- and post-retreat consultations with Beacon’s Center for College Readiness
  • •  All educational sessions, workshops and speakers

Schedule of Events

For three beautiful days, the Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando resort will be your hub for this immersive college readiness experience. Food and beverages are included for lunch and evening events, as well as all student activity tickets and transportation. 

3:00 PMHotel Check-in Begins
5:00 PMWelcome Dinner
7:00 PMFamily Trivia Night
Friday Sessions Family Engagement in College
The Family Cycle
The Legal Framework
Parent Panel
Parent Evening Mixer
Saturday Sessions The Social Landscape of College
Navigating College Support Systems
The Realities of Mental Health in College
Parents’ Night Out
Friday Activities Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
Saturday Activities Andretti Indoor Carting & Games
Top Golf
Student Dance & Social
8 – 11 AMParent and Student Workshop:
Evaluating Colleges
11:00 AMHotel Check-out
(Shuttles to Airport are available)

Who Should Attend?

This 3-day retreat is open to current 8th – 11th grade students with diagnosed learning differences and their parents or guardians. Students should be intending to go to college after high school, but may have not yet made concrete plans or college decisions. 

Take the Next Step

Register Online

Our May retreat is available only to 70 families, so register early to secure your spot.

To register, create an account through our online application portal and select “EmpowerED Connections” as your program of interest. You will then receive next steps from our team via email.

Attend an Info Session

Learn more about the program through a live virtual information session. The next event is coming up on Mar. 4, 2024:

Schedule a Meeting

Meet one-on-one with Beacon’s director of summer programming to help determine if the EmpowerED Connections is right for you: