To be eligible for these retreats,
women veterans must:
About the OEF/OIF Women Veterans’
These 6-day retreats
are a powerful, energizing way for women who have experienced the human impact of being in a war zone to recover their personal
strength and vitality. Participants may use this retreat to recover from whatever way they feel that the war has personally
affected them, whether that is healing from combat stress, PTSD or MST, re-adjusting to civilian life, addressing other personal
issues, or gaining practical everyday skills like financial know-how or enjoying the company of others who have been in similar
In the aftermath of military
service, many women find that their ‘comfort zone’ in the civilian world has become smaller, and that their lives
have become constricted in one way or another. One’s range of activities, self-expression, and ways of being with others
and one’s self can narrow in an effort to ensure safety and predictability. As a result, confidence in one’s ability
to negotiate relationships and unfamiliar situations can drop. These retreats provide an open and affirming forum for women
to take steps toward the fuller life that they envision for themselves. The nourishing natural environment, and the support
of others on a similar path, gives women on the recovery retreat a series of opportunities to recognize their strength and
capabilities, and to practice new ways of managing unfamiliar situations and relationships. Each woman
will bring unique issues, needs, and challenges to the retreat, and all participants will share the intention to stretch themselves
in ways that are appropriate for them, and the intention to support others on a similar journey.
The path to growth and recovery almost always involves
stretching outside of one’s comfort zone, and it can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable. This ‘stretch’
will be different for each woman, but common themes that may emerge include trust, setting boundaries, asking for support,
finding one’s strength and competence, practicing positive ‘self-talk’, and staying present in the presence
of fear. We feel strongly that each woman needs to be fully in charge of the degree of stretch that is appropriate for her.
You will have complete choice about whether you participate in any activity, and to what degree. Your facilitators
will help you explore your options, and provide education about how to make self-affirming choices. You will be asked to always
follow safety protocols, but aside from that, you can trust that your facilitators will always support your choices, and that
you will never be pressured into doing something that does not feel right to you.
Are these retreats right for
First, you must meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
It is also important that you have your own personal reason for coming, and some understanding of how your deployment is affecting
you at this point in time. A desire to move forward, a willingness to stretch in order to do so, and an interest in connecting
with other women veterans are also important. If you are unsure about why you want to come, it may be helpful to first talk
to your counselor to identify the issues you are working on.