Communitas Health is partnering with Commonweal, The Healing Kitchens Institute, and Kids & Caregivers to host our 2nd immersive, residential long-weekend retreat for teens living with chronic illness and their caregivers. This retreat will be held June 19-23rd, 2019 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
- Acupressure for relaxation during the retreat and learning skills to use at home
- Creative arts, including visual (painting/drawing), writing/journaling, and music
- Nature walks
- Supportive group sharing
Please note that this retreat is an educational program, not a medical treatment program. The Communitas Health Retreat is a program of Commonweal(a 501c3).
- 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.”
Following are some testimonials from previous retreat participants:
“The retreat was enlightening, amazing, and a way to gain new family members. You get to meet people who are going through similar things like you and create strong bonds in just a few days. All the people there truly want the best and nothing but the best for you.” —16 year-old participant
“This retreat is a healing space. My family had the most amazing experience, and we were blown away by what we learned. I feel blessed that we were part of the first Communitas Health retreat.”—Mother/Caregiver
“I learned that I am not alone and that I have people who truly care. I have amazing new friends and a support system. I would love to do this more often.” — 14 year-old participant
“The retreat was transformative, supportive, nurturing. I am overwhelmed with the generosity, organizing, warmth, creativity, expertise and the fun that went into planning and running this retreat. My heart is filled with gratitude.” —Mother/Caregiver
- 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: