When and how was Inward Bound Mindfulness started?
Inward Bound Mindfulness is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in 2010. Our teen & young adult 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 Inward Bound’s founding board.
What are the qualifications of Inward Bound retreat teachers/mentors?
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 Inward Bound website in the “About” section. In order to work for Inward Bound, all teachers and mentors are evaluated through an application process and must undergo a background check.
Can Inward Bound accommodate participants with food allergies or special dietary needs?
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 Inward Bound to accommodate, we may ask them to bring some of their own food to supplement the options provided at the retreat site.
Can I be a volunteer on a retreat that my child is attending?
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.
Is Inward Bound a religious organization?
No, Inward Bound 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.
How do participants get to the retreat center from the airport, their hometown/city, etc.?
For most retreats, participants are responsible for coordinating their own transportation to and from the retreat. Each retreat has a carpooling website to support ridesharing – and desired rideshare opportunties can be indicated on the application.
We are gradually including more fee-based van shuttles for some of our retreats. To see if a specific retreat offers a shuttle option, please see the specific retreat registration page. Please see the specific retreat page for more details.
What can participants expect to do each day?
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.
How much meditation, yoga, etc. can participants expect?
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).
How large are the retreats and what is the teen to staff ratio?
Each retreat location is different and can vary in size. Smaller retreats range around 30 participants and some of our larger retreats accommodate up to 55. Our typical teen to staff ratio is 3:1.
How do you handle medications for teens?
All medications are collected at the start of the retreat and distributed at their scheduled time by the retreat Health Coordinator.
Are cell phones allowed?
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 Inward Bound staff and returned at the end. Emergency contact information will be provided to all teens and parents in advance of the retreat.
What is the age range for Inward Bound teen & young adult retreats?
The age range for teen & young adult retreats is 15–25.
Is financial aid available? How do scholarships work?
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.
What does the application process entail?
Inward Bound has a multi-step application process to ensure that all teens who attend retreat can be fully supported in the retreat environment. Both the teen and parent will fill out portions of the application and submit with a deposit/application fee. Further steps include, a mental health screening, new student phone call, and e-signature verification in order to complete the process. Full payment is required by three weeks before the start of the retreat.
What kind of diversity will my teen encounter during their retreat experience?
Parent & Guardian Info Sessions
This Spring we’ve offered live online sessions for parents and guardians to learn more about Inward Bound.
Watch an excerpt from those sessions:
The presentation from the session is also available as a PDF.