We held our first in-person retreat in two years in September, 2021 at beautiful Pali Retreat Center in Running Springs, CA. Because of Covid, we had been doing Zoom retreats to stay in touch with our grads and future participants. Zoom is a great interim tool to maintain connections, however it does not come close to our in-person retreats and the positive impact it has on Women Cancer Survivors.
At this retreat, we were very grateful for the 28 participants and 10 staff who attended. It was a little different as we had to make accommodations for Covid, such as wearing masks and providing distance. Fortunately, we had a much bigger meeting space than usual, so everyone could spread out and it did not deter from the weekend events
Everyone was so happy to be out of their normal routine for a few days. To be surrounded by fellow survivors in this beautiful mountain scenery was very special. Saturday afternoon was a bit challenging, as it was raining. Our participants unanimously said they wanted to do the outdoor zipline in spite of the weather! Almost everyone participated.
The retreat reunion was held in November with over 20 women attending. It was great to see everyone again. These beautiful, brave women are now part of the Healing Odyssey sisterhood. Their feedback and comments are special and inspiring. Each one of their letters inspires and refreshes the commitment to our mission!
Here are a few comments from the participant letters we received:
“Although the weekend was tough on a lot of us we came together as a village of survivors and had the most beautiful weekend…Everything about the weekend was eye opening and magic from start to finish. My zipline adventure will forever remind me of how strong and brave I can be. For me the weekend will never end because I will carry it with me always!”
“I can tell you it was a profound experience which I am very grateful to have been able to participate in. It was at times heart rending, tearful, and soul baring, but ultimately it was an overall joyful time shared with so many strong, vulnerable, honest women.”