A one-of-a-kind experience to bring you closer to what gets you EXCITED about living, with tools to help you navigate life’s challenges and friends who want you to succeed.
What can you do on a teen retreat?
Connect With Yourself
Learn more about what makes you tick and discover how to live life on your terms.
Take A Break
Guidance from our amazing mentors to recover and recharge—whenever you need to.
Make Best Friends
An opportunity to have exciting new adventures and hang out with people just like you.
Explore Fun Workshops
Join in on special activities to make music, create art, talk about teen issues, and more
Become The Person You Want To Be
MTS retreats help teens and young adults reduce stress and cope with school, life, and social demands while taking a break from outside pressures.
They’re about reconnecting with your own natural confidence and ease—your inner spark.
We use curiosity to help you understand yourself, your skills, and your thoughts and emotions so you can handle ANY challenge, for life.
Join Us July 6th - July 10th
Big Bear • 42121 Seven Oaks Rd, Angelus Oaks, CA 92305
Frequently Asked Questions
We will be providing a detailed policy in the weeks before retreat – which will include some combination of testing before and during retreat, and masking while indoors. Policy will be based on local COVID numbers and whatever the latest variant is throwing our way. Please review our COVID-19 Policy before applying.
The daily retreat schedule includes periods of guided sitting and walking meditation, mindful movement such as yoga, small group activities, sports activities such as archery and swimming, 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.
The age range for teen retreats is 14–17.
There is no “typical” MTS 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.
You can plan on about 3-5 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, 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.
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!
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.
Scholarships & Donations
Scholarships are available for this retreat and can be requested in the registration process.
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 through Empowering the Human Spirit, when and if it feels right.
A payment is required to reserve a space on a retreat. The payment includes your $35 nonrefundable application fee.
Diversity & Accessibility
Motivating the Teen Spirit welcomes and celebrates human diversity in all forms regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ability, personal appearance, or religious/spiritual affiliation.