HEALING THROUGH COMMUNITY:
videos, PHOTOS and REFLECTIONS FROM MEMBER RETREATS
ARC began organizing retreats to provide formerly incarcerated members with experiences they never dreamed possible. Surrounded by nature, members have the opportunity to create deep connections with a positive, supportive community. Retreats also provide members with moments of serenity, away from the stresses of every day life, offering them space to heal from trauma and to reflect on future goals.
When we share images and stories from these trips with our incarcerated brothers and sisters, they often recognize a former cellmate, or a member they were incarcerated with, motivating them to stay committed to change, and reminding them to remain hopeful that they, too, can one day experience these retreats.
CATALINA CAMPING TRIP - AUGUST 26-28, 2016
Every year, ARC brings more than 50 members -- many of them just recently from incarceration -- on a three-day camping retreat to the Little Harbor campsite on the quiet backside of Catalina Island. Upon arrival to the island, members hike six miles along the coast to the campsite, immediately providing them with an opportunity to support and motivate one another. During the day, members hike, swim, snorkel, and kayak. At night, they participate in healing circles around the campfire to strengthen their connection to the community. This year, members also had the opportunity to connect with partners from The California Endowment, the Juvenile Division of the Board of Parole Hearings, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
RIVER RAFTING RETREAT - July 21-24, 2016
In July 2016, ARC brought 40 formerly incarcerated men and women -- who together served over 350 years in juvenile and adult prison -- on a three-day rafting trip covering 26 miles of the American River in the remote wilderness of California's Middle Fork Canyon. Over the course of the trip, members created strong bonds, learned to work together, and confronted fears, while navigating Level III and IV rapids along the river. When they weren't battling rapids, members had the opportunity to hike to waterfalls or kayak along the calmer sections of the river. The River Rafting Trip has become an annual retreat to strengthen the membership and bring new members into the family.
annual member RETREAT - january 6-9, 2017
The 2017 Annual Member Retreat was ARC's largest retreat yet, with more than 250 members, partners, and allies in attendance. Held each year at the Canyon Creek Sports Camp in Lake Hughes, CA, the three-day annual retreat offers members and guest opportunities to connect with each other through recreational activities and community meals, as well as opportunities for reflection and healing through workshops and group discussions. ARC Member Esteban Nunez reflects on his first retreat:
"The ongoing demands of everyday life can easily distract us from our healing process. It's difficult to heal and grow in places you don’t deem safe, or when you feel you'll be judged by those around you. This retreat provides the atmosphere where healing can begin or continue, where instead of being judged, you're comforted, easing your journey towards growth and development."