The Benefits of Teen Retreats: A Parent’s Perspective

Retreatants, teachers, and volunteer staff all get to experience the magic of our teen mindfulness retreats first hand.   The opportunity to take a break from the hustle of everyday lives in order to rest, engage in self-care, and get a clearer picture of what’s going on inside ourselves is a real privilege.  What’s more, when we all return from retreat to the faster pace of our modern lives, this privilege rarely disappoints in making a perceivable positive difference in our individual lived experiences.  But how does this consistent change in personal wellbeing brought about by mindfulness practice look to the friends and family to whom we are returning? From the parent testimonials included below, it turns out it looks pretty good!

“I am an adoptive parent of two teenagers. Both of my children came to me between the ages of 13 and 14, and each of them were suffering from a unique experience of loss. 

I found iBme on a Google search one day after taking a training on the healing effects of mindfulness for teens who have experienced trauma. I had been looking everywhere for classes, groups, or retreats on this subject, but everything I could find was for adults only. When I found out about iBme’s teen summer retreat, I had been caring for my daughter for two years. She had been in weekly therapy, and I had tried wraparound services, aromatherapy, church, equine therapy, music, reiki healers…. In short, everything I could think of. She had come a long way, but she still had a lot of shame and guilt around her story and sense of self. 

When I told her I wanted to her to go to a teen mediation retreat, she was NOT interested. She wasn’t into meditation (which I had tried to do with her at home and in community groups). So I gave her the choice between a week-long meditation camp and a two week long backpacking camp. She chose meditation camp. 

She was angry at me about something when I dropped her off, so I didn’t know what to expect when I picked her up. When I stepped out of the car after her week on retreat, she ran up to me and hugged me for a long time. She started crying, and then laughed and said, ‘I’ve been crying all week. In a good way. Ma- everyone here has such beautiful souls! I just love them all so much!’

When I stepped back to look at her I noticed she had grown two inches! She had always walked with a stoop, and nothing, from yoga to ballroom dance, had ever had an impact on that. That day it looked like a weight had been lifted from her. She was standing up straight, for the first time since I met her!

On the drive home, she told me about the epiphanies she had had about herself, and about her birth parents, and about her history, and about friends who had been shaming her and making her feel badly about herself. Upon arriving home she set new limits with her friends and her birth parents. Of course, over time the effects faded a little, but to this day she maintains awareness of the beautiful soul she truly is, and was thrilled when iBme opened a winter new year’s eve retreat. She has gone every summer and winter since, and she always comes back taller, and stronger.” –Lani

“Kai continues to meditate and trust the process! He mentions to us different strategies that he has learned in order to be aware and present. He and his brother attended the retreat and have become closer through the shared experience, more tolerant . Our family has become closer following the experience.” -Garbine 

I so appreciate your group. The teachers and leaders were so excellent from what I can tell. My son really needed this kind of thing. I already got you another participant for another retreat. I will be eternally grateful for what you have offered him and what you offer so many teens. I hope he does another retreat next year. Bless you all! Namaste or whatever. Really! -Gwen Berliner

Are you a friend or family member of someone who has sat an iBme teen retreat?  We’d love to hear your story, email us at contact@ibme.info!