All The Feels: A 5-day Mindfulness Retreat for Teens

One Week Course

Kim Armstrong, Tai Mattox

About this Event

July 11 – July 15 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

This week-long, experiential program for high school students is based on the evidenced-based curriculum of Mindful Self Compassion, the Mindful Schools curriculum, and principles of positive psychology.  During this week, we will spend time practicing mindfulness through many senses and avenues; creative projects; connect with each other through discussions and age-appropriate games; spend time outdoors, and do some gentle movement. Mindfulness practices have been studied and shown to help manage stress, increase feelings of well-being, and promote emotional resilience. 

We will also discuss ways to apply the practices and concepts to their daily lives for greater relevance. We’ll learn practical skills you can use at any moment to help when feeling stressed and overwhelmed with emotions. Research suggests that participation may reduce depression and anxiety in teens and may positively impact engagement and academic performance. This class is designed for teens, ages 14-18, and is taught by two instructors who are experienced meditation teachers, with a background in working with adolescents. Both have experienced the power of mindfulness and compassion personally and in support of the well-being of youth. 

This program will also allow for a connection to the UW campus with times spent on campus outdoors, a campus tour, and access to some of the facilities, giving participants a connection to college and their future. 

Themes that we will explore together include:

  • What is Mindfulness?
  • How do we practice paying attention on purpose? Why does it matter?
  • How can we bring in more self-care versus self-criticism? Why do this anyway?
  • What about self-compassion? 
  • Turning self-compassion into agency: Advocating for ourselves and for others
  • Living with intention: Mindfulness in real life
  • How can we work to better manage intense emotions?
  • How do we find more gratitude amidst all of the hard things happening in life?

Sample Schedule

  • 9:30 Arrival, Connection, Intention Setting
  • 10:00 Gentle Movement and Meditation
  • 11:15 Journaling, Small and large group discussion
  • 12:00 Outdoor walking mindfulness practice
  • 12:30 Lunch and mindful eating
  • 1:30 Loving Kindness Meditation
  • 2:00 Large Group Discussion
  • 2:30 Games and Movement
  • 3:15 Closing Practice
  • 3:30 End for the day

Teen Feedback
80% of teens who participated in our last program indicated that they had some or significant improvement in their stress levels or mood. Here is what a few teens have said about the program:

“This program helps you to be better equipped in staying in the present moment, restructuring your inner critic, and learning how to calm intrusive thoughts. You become more in tune with your own thoughts and inner voice.”

“People should take it if they want to gain valuable knowledge on how to better understand and appreciate yourself, or just if you need to learn how to manage emotions better.”

“I can see that I’ve been able to be more self-compassionate and just feeling better about myself. When I started this class, I was kinda at a low point and really just needed all the support I could get and now I’m doing the best I have in months.”

“I have actually been better at dealing with stressful events that are outside my control.”

“It is really good at providing a lot of different concepts and practices that you can use in your everyday life.”

“People should take it if they want to gain valuable knowledge on how to better understand and appreciate yourself, or just if you need to learn how to manage emotions better.”

Getting Here
By bus or light rail: More than 60 bus routes serve the University District and a Link Light Rail Station is located 1/2 mile away.
By bike: Kincaid Hall is located directly off the Burke Gilman Trail between 15th Ave NE and the NE Pacific Street overpass. Bike racks are conveniently located at Kincaid and throughout campus.
By car: There are no parking lots directly adjacent to Kincaid Hall. If you are driving, please allow yourself an extra 15-20 minutes to locate parking and walk to Kincaid Hall. The University of Washington offers pay-lots and parking garages. Metered street parking is also available but very limited. Parking fees around campus range from $1.00 – $4.00 an hour. Learn more about parking options here. For an ADA map, please visit the UW Access Guide.
An important note in light of COVID-19
Masks and vaccinations are strongly recommended, although not currently required. Correct use of well-fitting masks or face coverings protects the wearer as well as others, thereby helping to prevent transmission of COVID-19. 
Health and safety requirements are subject to change. Participants will be required to follow current guidelines in place at the time of the program.

Participants who have symptoms of COVID-19, are required to stay home and should get tested and/or see a health care provider. Any participant who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to isolate at home following current guidelines from DOH and the CDC. This isolation guidance applies regardless of vaccination status.

Scholarships Available

CCFW aims to promote well-being by making evidence-based mindfulness practices available and accessible to community members. We believe that mindfulness has positive implications for youth and their families. Therefore, we aim to provide mindfulness programs to families by removing possible financial barriers. If these fees are cost-prohibitive for your family, we invite you to apply for a scholarship.

About the Presenters

Kim Armstrong

Kim Armstrong

Co-Founder and Co-Director of Space Between, a non-profit with a mission of facilitating human and school transformation through mindfulness practices

Kim practices mindfulness in order to know, see, and feel what is really important in life. Her favorite mindfulness quote is “Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Kim has a masters in Child and Adolescent Psychology from the University of Washington and is a certified meditation teacher and 500 hour yoga teacher. Kim’s super power is deep listening with full presence. When she isn’t managing operational details, she can be found strumming chords on her guitar. What she wants you to know is “I am much more fun and less serious than I appear! Ask me about Forest Bathing or Zumba.” 

Tai Velasquez 1 (1)

Tai Mattox

Co-Director of Space Between

Tai practices mindfulness in order to better manage her emotions and find equanimity amidst the highs and lows of life. Her favorite mindfulness quote is “trees will do that; make you stop and breathe.” by Mariah Carey. Tai has a BS from Cornell University and is a Certified Meditation Instructor (Chopra Center) and RYT200 Yoga Teacher. She is a certified and licensed vibrational sound therapy practitioner. Tai’s super power is conveying challenging information with grace and guiding others to slow down. The Manhattan’s “Kiss and Say Goodbye” and Crystal Gales “You Light Up My Life” are two of her favorite Karaoke staples. She is a great back-up singer if you ever need one. What Tai wants you to know is “I am passionate about helping people slow down and take time for themselves. Mindfulness is an excellent way to do that.”