Be loved + accepted for who you are
Mindfulness retreats provide young people with the rare opportunity to experience uninterrupted and genuine insight into their own life experience while connecting with their peers and mindfulness teachers in a welcoming and safe community. Come for the fun & friends. Stay for the calm & community.
15 to 19 years
Sliding scale: 1% of annual household income, up to $2,500. Learn More.
Duration + Location
6 days, 5 nights at Big Bear Retreat Center in Big Bear, CA
July 17, midnight
Starts: July 31, 2023
Drop-off: 4:00 pm
Ends: August 5, 2023
Pick-up: 1:00 pm
Jose Shinzan Palma
Jose Shinzan Palma was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He is a Zen Buddhist Priest. He has been practicing Zen since 1996. He did a residential training for 4 years at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Toronto, Canada. He lived and trained in Upaya Zen Center for over 8 years. He is a Dharma Successor of Roshi Joan Halifax. He has taught Zazenkais and Sesshins at Upaya and has staffed Teen Retreats for Spirit Rock Center and iBme. He is a guest teacher in a Zen Buddhist Temple in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Shinzan left the residency of Upaya and he is the founder of Open Gate Zen Collective in San Diego. His vision is to work with youth and also create a Zen Hispanic community in the USA and Mexico.
Bea Anderson (they/them/theirs) has been working as a meditator and transformative justice space holder for over six years. Bea calls up the traditions, legacies, and medicine of their southern Black American, Jamaican Maroon, and Choctaw ancestry as their healing arts praxis.
In 2008, Bea began training as a Buddhist dharma teacher, community organizer, and music therapist. Later, in 2019, they became a somatic healing therapy practitioner offering a private practice supporting individuals, families, and organizations internationally.
Bea Anderson was a founding member of Harriet’s Apothecary, a healing collective that envisions a world where Black, Indigenous, and People of color have the power, healing, and safety needed to live the lives we desire for ourselves and our communities. Bea currently acts as the founder and director of Song of The Spirit Institute, an international online learning environment supporting the sustainability, health, and well-being of Indigenous peoples, culture, and lands across the globe.
Board President, Equity and Interdependence Committee Member Photo: Path at Insight Meditation Center
Tonya has spent the past 17 years working in the public sector driven by a strong commitment to social justice and equity, collective healing and building stronger, compassionate communities. Before joining iBme, Tonya was the Los Angeles Director at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a national organization that provides transitional work and permanent job services to the formerly incarcerated. At CEO, she was responsible for overseeing and supporting a diverse staff of 20, along with program development and management, community partnerships, fiscal oversight and working collaboratively with national fund and business development teams. Tonya is a certified mindfulness facilitator (UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior). She is a mentor for UCLA’s Intensive Practice Program, teaching assistant for UCLA’s Mindfulness and Theory course, guest teacher at InsightLA’s POC sangha, and has lectured and facilitated at numerous educational institutions and organizations. Tonya holds a BA from Howard University, MFA from Columbia University, and serves on the UC Irvine Advisory Board for the Customer Experience Certificate Program.
What happens on retreat?
Learn mindfulness practices such as breath & body awareness and mindful walking. Beginners (more than) welcome!
Explore activities like painting, improv, journaling, and creative writing. Pick and choose what interests you, or lead a workshop yourself!
Dance without worrying about what other people think of you. We all have our unique ways of dancing (or not – you don’t have to dance either)!
Laugh in good company, take the opportunity to be vulnerable, and play games like “sweet seat” to connect more deeply with a small group of teens.
Cuddle up with a blanket! Listen and learn how to tend to relationships, emotions, the challenges of our times, and more – it’s all about applying mindfulness to daily life.
Move and release through guided daily yoga practice.
Hear from participants themselves
Being New on Retreat
Working with Stress
Fear of Being Yourself
Want more information?
Sign-up to get more details & reminders for this retreat.
Benefits of attending retreat
Feel More Connected
We’ll offer your teen tools to open their heart, deepen their sense of self-compassion, and connect more deeply with themselves – and with you!
Help Them Find Their People
Your teen will develop meaningful relationships in a community of peers and mindfulness teachers alike, where they’ll be accepted for who they are.
Take the Stress Off
You don’t have to provide for every aspect of your teen’s mental and emotional well-being. The mindulness practices your teen learns on retreat can offer additional support!
Peace of Mind
Worry less, knowing your teen will learn tools to compassionately and mindfully meet every moment of their life.
Forge Meaningful Relationships
You always have a friend at iBme! Connect with people in a safe, welcoming space where you don’t have to “fit in” to be loved, to make friends, to be yourself.
Find Your Center
Gain tools to deepen understanding of your inner life, and apply skills for navigating your thoughts and emotions.
Make Happiness Easier
Learn how to release tension, pain, and self-judgment through the practice of mindfulness.
Share Who You Are
Authentically share who you are with your peers in small groups, workshops, creative/art shows, during walks in the woods, and more.
"This retreat was exactly what my 17-year-old son needed. A supportive staff, diverse group of kids, beautiful setting, meditation, yoga, talks, mindfulness, new friends, and new thinking. Learning to relax and observe your emotions from amazing staff and leaders! Life changing in the most positive way."
Kimberly, iBme parent
"My son (14) and my nephew (17) came back from their first meditation retreat changed young men. I am so impressed with the depth, accessibility, and integrity of the retreat program, as well as by the skill and compassion of the facilitators. Our family enthusiastically endorses the iBme programming. We’ll be back."
Leslie, iBme parent
"It’s so much easier for me to be happy. I used to have all these emotions that were right here, really tight, all the time. Mindfulness practice slowly unraveled how tightly I held them. There’s so much less tension and pain around them."
Taeya B., teen
"iBme opened my eyes to see how beautiful I really am and to how much potential each one of us has."
Levi P., teen
Tuition & Payment Info
We offer this sliding scale approach to retreat tuition in order to accommodate a wide range of family incomes.
- iBme retreats feature a low ratio of adult staff per participant, providing high-quality care, expertise, instruction, and mentoring (this is our secret sauce!)
Please note: A nonrefundable application fee of $35 is required and applied toward your tuition.
We rely on tuition fees, supplemented by donations, to cover the costs of our retreats and make it possible for all teens who want to to attend. If you can, we invite you to consider making a donation when and if it feels right.
*Fully Vaccinated: An individual is fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series — aka the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine – aka Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
The daily retreat schedule includes periods of guided sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement such as yoga or qigong, small group activities, workshops and free time for socializing or resting. We move into and out of periods of silence throughout the day. You should be prepared to attend all of the activities each day. We also serve three tasty meals a day and a late night snack to keep you going.
You can plan on about 4-6 hours of silent meditation spread throughout each day (2-3 hours in the morning, and 2-3 hours in the afternoon/evening). Don’t worry though, you won’t be expected to meditate for two hours straight! Each meditation session is about 20-30 minutes. The meditation time includes a mix of sitting meditation, walking meditation, and other mindful movement.Some form of mindful movement, such as yoga or qigong, is offered on a daily basis, usually for about an hour at a time. If you are excited to practice more meditation or more yoga there are often workshops during the week that allow you to deepen your practice.
No, definitely not! While there are periods of silence during the retreat there’s a lot of time to connect and talk with other participants such as during your small group meetings, over meals, during workshops and free time.
While our retreat schedule is fairly structured, there is some free time built in. There is usually about an hour of free time following each meal. If you don’t have a mindful clean-up job scheduled during that time you are welcome to exercise, go for a hike, etc. There will be some guidelines around going for hikes and runs depending on the specific retreat location but we are usually able to accommodate these kinds of needs.
Yes, provided they meet the age requirements of the retreat, friends, siblings, cousins, etc. are welcome to come on retreat together. There will be lots of time to talk, connect, and hang out with each other – during meals, free time, workshops, etc. Please be prepared, however, as friends or siblings may be assigned to different dorm rooms and different small groups. We encourage all participants to “stretch outside their comfort zones” by interacting with new people and not just hanging out with a friend or sibling for the whole retreat.
This is a really common concern! A lot of people say, “I think too much. There’s no way I can still my mind. Meditation might work for other people but it’s not for me.” If you think this you are not alone! The objective of meditation is not to “space out” or clear our minds until they are completely of thoughts. With practice, you may find that when you are meditating your thoughts and emotions are still present but you won’t be so consumed by them. Meditation and mindfulness are about practicing awareness and acceptance towards ourselves, our thoughts, and strong emotions – not making them go away!
Sometimes people hear “meditation” and “mindfulness” and they think, “It sounds like this retreat is going to be serious and silent. Why would I want to spend a week of my summer doing that??” Good news–our teen participants consistently share that the retreat is one of the most powerful, connected—and fun—weeks of the year. While we do meditate and learn the skills of mindfulness and compassion throughout the day, there’s also lots of time to connect with new friends, explore new sides of ourselves through creative and interesting workshops, go for hikes, and just hang out together. A big part of our retreats is “relational mindfulness” with small groups at the center of the experience. During small groups you will get the chance to play goofy games, hear other people’s stories, and be part of a community. We have retreat “alumni” who keep coming back every year because the people they meet on retreat become their closest friends.
There is no “typical” iBme participant. Our participants are a diverse group in many ways. Some are not religious, others are Buddhists, while others may identify Christian or Jewish or Muslim. Some are musicians, others are artists and theater fans, some are athletes, others are outdoorsy types. About 1 in 3 of our participants identify as LGBTQIA. About 1 in 4 of our participants identifies as being a person of color, biracial, or multiracial. The thing tying all of our participants together is that they are all humans looking to de-stress, connect more with themselves, and create community with like-minded peers.
The age range for teen retreats is 15–19.