Communitas Health (a 501c3) is partnering with Commonweal, Power of Hope Camp, The Healing Kitchens Institute, and Kids & Caregivers to host our first immersive, residential long-weekend retreat for teens living with chronic illness and their caregivers. This retreat will be held June 20-24th, 2018 at the gorgeous and magical Commonweal Retreat Center in Bolinas, California, at the edge of the Point Reyes National Seashore. This retreat will serve 8-10 teens living with illness and 8-10 of their caregivers.
The retreat will build on the successful prior Communitas programs and provide teens and their caregivers with an immersive, lived experience of practicing mind-body skills, healthy and healing lifestyle modalities, and creative/reflective practices in a community of similar peers. There will be plenty of opportunities for rest, rejuvenation, and fun in a natural setting. Food will be healthy, delicious, and nourishing!
Specifically, we will have sessions led by integrative health experts, nutritionists, artists, naturalists, and group facilitators on:
- Mind-body medicine skills (i.e. meditation, mindfulness, guided imagery) that are known to improve physical and mental wellbeing
- Stress management, relaxation, self-care, and wellness for kids and caregivers
- Culinary medicine education and hand-on cooking workshops
- Yoga, tai chi, and mindful movement
- Massage for relaxation during the retreat and learning skills to use at home
- Creative arts, including visual (painting/drawing), writing/journaling, and music
- Gardening & nature walks
- Supportive group sharing
Please note that the Communitas Health retreat is an educational program, not a medical treatment program.
- This retreat is for 14-19 year olds living with a chronic physical condition (such as cancer, autoimmune condition, lung disease, diabetes, etc) and one of their parents.
- The retreat will work best for people who understand what the retreat is and believe they would benefit from participating.
- All participants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Must be medically stable enough to spend 4 nights in a rural retreat setting
- Must be under the care of a physician
- Must be able to communicate needs independently
- Must be able to be away from family members for at least 2 hours or more at a time
- Must be able to function and participate in a group setting
- Must have a minimum developmental age of 5 years
- We are able to accommodate one family with a wheelchair for this retreat due to the site’s limited wheelchair accessibility.
Our hope is that the retreat all leads to improving life quality and health outcomes, promoting life-long wellness for the whole family, reducing symptoms and stress through self-care practices, creating a sense of meaning/purpose in the face of adversity, and experiencing community with others in similar situations. We envision this retreat as a transformative experience that will allow teens and their caregivers to harness the power of illness to be an opportunity for health-enhancement, human connection, and resilience-building in a natural, healing setting. We also hope the retreat is an opportunity for families facing serious illness to build a lasting, supportive peer community and make life-long friends “who really get it.”
Since 2014, we have served nearly 100 families with our mind-body resilience groups, which have been held in partnership with the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Our research is demonstrating improvements in physical and mental health, mood, stress, and resilience after program participation.
Here are some quotes from families who have participated in our mind-body groups:
“This is truly important work. Their program was a life-saver for us. It gave my daughter her life back. I feel gratitude as I write this.”
“The program helped me dig myself out of the fog hanging over me and my family. I am now looking for a healthier way of living life.”
“The teachings have been tremendous. EVERY TEEN WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS SHOULD BE OFFERED THIS SUPPORT.”
“This has been an incredible experience. The classes have helped in many areas of our lives beyond out health. The group meetings have given us so many tools. I find myself using them on a regular basis. We use what we have learned in every difficult situation beyond just the health issues.”
- Full scholarships are being offered to everyone thanks to generous philanthropic & organizational support + staff volunteerism.
Please also contact us if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to support this retreat program.
THANK YOUS to the following organizations for their partnerships and generosity: