iBme is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in 2010. Our teen retreat model was developed over 25 years through the efforts of many individuals and organizations. Our current Executive Director, Jessica Morey, attended some of the earliest teen retreats and was part of iBme’s founding board.
Our diverse group of teachers and mentors has decades of experience teaching mindfulness and working with youth; many of them are leaders in the growing field of mindfulness education. They bring years of personal mindfulness and meditation practice into their roles as mentors, modeling authenticity, compassion, and respect for the young people they work with. They also bring work and life experience as educators, therapists, wilderness guides, lawyers, youth workers, parents, and more. Full biographies for retreat teachers and mentors can be found on the iBme website in the “About” section. In order to work for iBme, all teachers and mentors are evaluated through an application process and must undergo a background check.
We can typically accommodate common food allergies and dietary needs (such as gluten-free diets, lactose intolerance, peanut allergies, and vegetarian and vegan diets). If a participant has a very specific food need that is challenging for iBme to accommodate, we may ask them to bring some of their own food to supplement the options provided at the retreat site.
Generally, no. Whenever possible we encourage teens to attend the retreat on their own. Our primary focus is ensuring the best experience for participants. In our experience we have found that teens are more comfortable and more willing to be open when attending the retreat on their own.
No, iBme is a secular nonprofit organization with no religious affiliation. We welcome participants from all backgrounds, religious or not. Many of our retreat teachers have extensive training in meditation—some from a Buddhist perspective—however, we teach mindfulness in a way that is inclusive of those with varying beliefs.
For most retreats, participants will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the retreat. If an applicant is interested in carpooling with other people, they can indicate this on their application and we will share contact information for other people in their area that are interested in carpooling. For our Colorado Retreat and Emigrant Wilderness Retreat, there is an airport shuttle available at an additional cost. Please see the specific retreat page for more details.
Our retreats have set daily schedules. Schedules are fairly structured and participants should plan to attend all activities. Each day will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement, small group activities, workshops, and free time for socializing or resting. View a sample daily Retreat Schedule.
We practice a total of 4-6 hours of silent meditation each day (about 2-3 hours in the morning, and 2-3 hours in the afternoon/evening). These blocks of time are split up into 20-30 minute sessions that include a mix of sitting meditation, walking meditation, and other mindful movement activities. Mindful movement, such as yoga or qigong, is offered on a daily basis (usually about an hour per day).
Our meditation instruction is simple and available for anyone to do, regardless of their religious beliefs. We do not teach any philosophy beyond learning to be open and aware of what is happening in the present moment. One of our intentions is to work with our participants to help them bring kind awareness and compassion to their experience, whatever it may be.
Most retreats accommodate approximately 35-45 participants. Our typical teen-to-staff ratio is 3 to 1. The Emigrant Wilderness Retreat accommodates up to 30 participants who are then split up into smaller groups based upon age.
All medications will be collected at the start of the retreat and distributed at their scheduled time by our Health Coordinator.
In order to help maintain the retreat environment and provide the chance for full participant engagement, cell phones and other electronics such as iPods or laptops are collected at the beginning of the retreat by iBme staff and returned at the end. Emergency contact information will be provided to all teens and parents in advance of the retreat.
The age range for teen retreats is 15–19. The age range for young adult retreats is 20–32.
Yes, financial aid is offered based on your family income. Your tuition cost will be calculated on the payment page of your registration application. We do our best to work with families to help make a retreat possible. No teen has ever been turned away due to lack of funds. Please see the tuition page for more information about tuition and scholarships.