Our Girls Empowerment Retreats provide free supportive programming during three weekends in the fall which are tailored to the unique needs of children aged (7-11), youth (12-15 years), and teens (16-19) have been affected by parental imprisonment. The focus of our four-day retreats are to empower at-risk girls by providing the opportunity to experience the healing properties of the natural environment, participate in team-building activities, and learn life skills including; building a campfire, canoeing, cooking and fishing. Our retreats enable girls to receive support from our female mentors, build positive peer relationships, and learn healthy coping strategies to promote self-esteem, reduce the impact of parental imprisonment, and optimize psychological well-being.
As youth of incarcerated parents are often forced to face a myriad of challenges, our retreats begin each day with a focus group. Our Let’s Chat peer group enable girls to discuss with peers, mentors, and a counselor their feelings, thoughts and experiences associated with parental imprisonment in a supportive environment. Complimentary to our peer group, the girls have the opportunity to utilize the creative arts to express feelings and release emotions in a healthy forum. To foster the development of life skills and strengthen the unity among participants, our girls collaboratively work together to plan, prepare and enjoy family-style meals during breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. As equine assisted therapy has shown to be efficacious in supporting at-risk youth, each weekend the girls have the opportunity to connect with horses, assist in the grooming process, and participate in trail rides at a local ranch. Furthermore, to promote optimal outcomes for the future, girls receive mentorship from our peer leaders on setting short- term and long term goals.
• Improvement in self-esteem, confidence, and social skills
• Increase in leadership skills and reduction in feelings of social isolation among at-risk girls
• Reductions in psychological distress and improvements in the use of adaptive coping strategies