NorCal Teen Retreat: Staff Logistics

NorCal Teen Retreat: Staff Logistics

Here is all you need to know to prepare for this retreat.

Important dates and location info:

  • from June 26 at 2pm (staff arrival)
  • through July 2 at 3pm (staff departure)

The retreat will take place at Black Mountain Retreat Center:

  • 23125 Fort Ross Rd, Cazadero CA 95421 (driving directions)
  • Parking is available on site for anyone who drives themselves to retreat.

Things for you to do:

    1. Fill out this form as soon as you’re able, but no later than June 1st.
    2. Update your Background Check: {{background check}}
    3. Add our Equity & Interdependence Training to your calendar (June 7 & 9 from 7-9pm EST/4-6pm PST. All summer retreat staff should attend this two part training, hosted by our Equity Committee and led by Tonya Jones and Raquel Castro-Corrazini.)
    4. Read the Mentor Manual and refresh your memory on staff roles farther down this email
    5. Review Inward Bound’s COVID Protocol
    6. Check out the Summer Packing List and *please remember* to bring your own linen

Much gratitude to all of you for your willingness to be part of this retreat. Those who have been involved with our teen mindfulness retreats before know that they are powerful, inspiring, and fulfilling experiences for all involved. For those who are new, you will get to see some of the “magic” that takes place on these retreats.

We want to acknowledge that retreats also represent a significant commitment of time, energy, and openness. Thank you for undertaking that commitment and for offering yourself as a mentor and friend to the teens who come on retreat.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this info and all the linked docs and for committing your time to support our teen retreats. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions or need support. 

With gratitude and excitement,
With Retreat Manager Soula Gountouvas & Coordinating Teacher Enrique Collazo 


Logistical Information for Retreat

Staff Arrival and Training: Staff training will begin at 3pm on Sunday, June 26. Please arrive at 1pm so that you have time to settle into your room, explore, and connect with one another before the first meeting at 2pm. Lunch will not be served, so please eat before you arrive or bring food with you. We will have dinner together that night. 

Core Team Arrival and Meeting: If you are part of the teaching team, we will have our first meeting at 1pm. Please arrive by 12pm, so that you have time to settle into your room before our first meeting at 1pm.

Teen Arrival: The teens will arrive between 4–5pm on Monday June 17. You should plan to be onsite through the duration of the retreat.

Staff Departure: Staff will finish by mid-afternoon on Saturday, July 2. Our last meal together on retreat will be lunch on Friday, and teens will be departing at 1pm. Then we will meet as a full staff for retreat debrief. Please plan your post-retreat travel accordingly. 

PLEASE NOTE: Bed linens and towels will NOT be provided!

Black Mountain provides a bottom sheet, pillow, and pillow case only. If you’re flying in and need bedding, please let us know that in the form above! Bring whatever you need to make your bed and to be comfy and dry after you shower! If you are unable to bring bedding, please let us know IN ADVANCE, so we can make arrangements. 

COVID Protocol

We are requiring that all staff and teens who attend our Northern California Teen Retreat be fully vaccinated by arrival day. In addition, we are also requiring proof of a negative PCR COVID test within 72 hours before arrival on 6/26/22. Please bring proof of your negative test result with you! For the safety of the staff and retreat participants, we will not be making exceptions on vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID test provided upon arrival.

Retreat Manual

Please take some time in advance of the retreat to read through the Retreat Mentor Manual. Even if you are a seasoned mentor, we request that you take some time to re-read the Mentor Manual to remind yourself of what to expect. It has been a minute since we have all done this in person! Please PRINT THE MANUAL, and bring a copy with you to the retreat. We will not have copies for all staff on site. 

Detailed Staffing Role Information

Staff Jobs – The Mentor Manual has descriptions of all of the staff jobs. Please read through them, and let the retreat manager know which role(s) you would feel most comfortable supporting. Specifically we need mentors to fill the following roles:

  • Dorm Parents
  • Workshop Coordinator 
  • Arrival Games Staff
  • Smoking Liaison
  • Photographer/Recorder
  • Facilities Coordinator

All members of the staff team will also serve as “greeters” and support the teens’ arrival. You can also expect to have a designated “sweeping” time throughout the week and potentially facilitate a mindful clean-up job. More information about these roles can be found in the Mentor Manual. If you have questions you can ask me via email before retreat or in-person during staff training.

Small group leaders will be determined by the teaching team and assigned onsite. Please note that everyone will have an opportunity to participate in a small group. Small group leaders are generally experienced iBme facilitators and are supported by other teachers and mentors.

Much of what we all will learn and practice is how to be a mentor for the teens. There is a lot to say about this and we will go into more detail about how to be most effective in this role during staff training.

Workshops – Each afternoon of the retreat, the teens will choose from a variety of workshops, each 90 minutes, offered by staff members. We invite you to think about what you would like to offer during one of these time slots. The workshops vary in type and can include areas such as movement, art, nature, deepening our meditation practice, games or music. The possibilities are endless – workshops provide an opportunity to connect with the teens and share something that interests you. Sometimes staff will choose to collaborate and create workshops together after they’ve met on retreat. If you know that you need special materials for your workshop, please plan to bring those with you.

Schedule and Staff Meetings – You’ll find a sample daily schedule in the Mentor Manual. This may change slightly before the retreat and on the last day. The staff team will eat dinner together every evening. This will be a chance to check-in, share observations about teens, and review logistics for the next day.

Safety for Teens and Staff – We will go over precepts and guidelines during our staff training in depth. Please review page 7 of your mentor manual for more information.