Why retreat with moms and daughters? Why not provide a more traditional experience on campus? The planning, costs and implementation of a retreat require commitment, yet we believe the benefits are immeasurable. It’s a sound investment of time and resource from our perspective. We know that girls surge forward in their journeys when families are involved in their daughters’ process and committed to their own healing and growth.
Our students find it delicious to be away from campus for several days, and moms are able to shift away from the demands and pressures of everyday life at home for a bit. The novelty is welcome.
Twenty Chrysalis moms and their daughters recently enjoyed our multi-day retreat with a focus on “Nurturing the Bond Between Mother and Daughter.” It’s become an annual Chrysalis event to meet at a treasured locale on the shores of pristine Flathead Lake. We gather for four days in late August, creating community at a lovely, rustic church camp on Hughes Bay. It has the feel of days gone by: tall pine trees towering over the shores of crystal clear water, solitude, waves lapping at the beach, eagles and osprey soaring above, squirrels chirping and deer grazing. It’s a peaceful scene.
The camp team provides delicious food. It’s possible that we all left a little heavier, having consumed fresh baked cookies at snack, sumptuous dinners such as shepherd’s pie and zucchini pasta, curry dishes, mountains of salad from a fresh bar at each lunch and dinner, delicious strawberry birthday shortcake for a lovely girl who turned 17, and eggs Benedict. The list of gourmet yumminess goes on and on. We all felt a bit pampered by the kind chef.
Having a daughter at therapeutic boarding school can often create a sense of loneliness and generate an overall experience of not being understood. Moms from all across the country were able to connect with each other and our Chrysalis staff, to listen to each other, to be heard and to experience being understood. The relationships that formed are sure to carry forward.
We have found the right recipe of blending structure and challenge with quiet and free time. Moms and daughters played games, canoed and went on nature walks. They created and processed art together. Groups included multi-family sessions, all moms, all daughters, and the whole community. There were recreation therapy opportunities, and motor boating and tubing for those who lean toward the wild side. The beach area allowed for swim time, diving and sliding. There are a multitude of quiet places to sit, to contemplate, to enjoy the scene, or to have a chat.
For many of us, our daily lives can be full of busy-ness, routine and sameness. Sometimes all of these leads to the exclusion of taking time to reflect upon what is important, to devote time to “be” with self or beloved others. What a joy it was to be able to retreat as a community of healers with mothers and daughters of Chrysalis, which provided a safe refuge to nurture bonds. Our team is already looking forward to this event in 2016!