Women’s Empowerment Retreats Help You Dig Deep, Make Friends and Press Onward

Authors: Emily Munoz , Erin Jacobson

When a rock hits water, it’s the initial splash that gets our attention. It’s apparent that something in the world has shifted; something is no longer in the place it was. How similar this is to early grief — that cold initial shock, the feeling of sudden displacement. 

It can take a while to realize that more than the surface has been disturbed. Waves fan out across the water — change ripples through every part of our lives. And there’s always something deep down that changes, too — wherever the rock lands, the composition of the bottom is fundamentally changed. 

TAPS understands the ripple effects of loss — how grief weaves itself into every part of what we know and who we are. The resulting questions of identity, self-definition, emotional regulation, and purpose are part of why the Women’s Empowerment program exists. Together, we acknowledge what has changed and what we hope still can change. We name fears, share stories, and acknowledge shame. We also forge friendships where tears, laughter, and imperfections are all celebrated — where sadness isn’t toxic and where the masks can be removed (but only if replaced with sunscreen). 

As of this summer, Women’s Empowerment has several ways that you can get involved, and we’re always planning more. We are committed to creating safe, unique spaces where strengths and vulnerabilities are equally welcome. Join us as we dig deep, make friends, and press onward.

TAPS surviving women create a plan for healing and growth at the Pinebrook Retreat Center during last month’s Pocono Mountains Women’s Empowerment Retreat.TAPS surviving women create a plan for healing and growth at the Pinebrook Retreat Center during last month’s Pocono Mountains Women’s Empowerment Retreat.

Empowerment at Seminars

Regional seminars are some of our largest events, so they also provide a great opportunity for connections in smaller groups. At each regional seminar, including the ones coming up in Florida and New Jersey, there will be two Women’s Empowerment sessions. Saturday’s workshop will be a little more introspective, helping us re-ground ourselves in who we are and who we have been, and Sunday’s workshop will be about purpose, balance, and goal-setting. You’ll leave with a clearer sense of your own power to connect, heal, and inspire. This curriculum will be growing and changing every year, so you can attend empowerment sessions each time you attend a seminar, knowing that you will find something new each time.

Empowerment Retreats - Weeks of Renewal

If you're asking yourself what's next after the death of your loved one, and you're ready to take steps toward transforming your life, then a Week of Renewal may be right for you. Designed specifically for survivors who are more than two years out from their military loss, each Week of Renewal takes place in a tranquil, (mostly) technology-free space that helps us create room for big hurts and space for even a small measure of peace and joy. Using a combination of outdoor activities, movement, art and journaling, we'll take inspiration from our surroundings and our peers, creating plans for healing and growth. Weeks of Renewal are oriented around the needs of our minds, bodies and spirits, so participants can expect to feel newly reconnected to themselves, each other, and the world around them.

Because we know the importance of this work, we want as many people as possible to experience a Week of Renewal. Should you want or need to join us again after you’ve already attended, we may consider that after significant time has passed between attendances, life circumstances have changed significantly, when we need strong peer mentor attendees, or when there’s a last-minute cancellation. We’re constantly re-imagining our own lives, and we recognize and honor that. (After all, that’s what empowered women do!)

Attending a Week of Renewal does not affect your eligibility for once-in-a-lifetime Survivor Experiences.

Empowerment Retreats - New to Grief

The New to Grief empowerment retreats been specially crafted for women whose loss occurred within the past three years. With tender acknowledgement of the sudden changes and the creeping adjustments, this element of the empowerment program focuses on coping skills  and camaraderie.

Programming at New to Grief retreats will truly provide time to allow newer survivors the freedom to grieve, heal, and to share the experience with other women. We know that something we do will speak to your soul — whether it’s an art project, a movement activity, quiet time journaling, or a heartfelt conversation — and we know that once we light that place up, even for a second, we may be able to allow grief to exist alongside new hope.

We hope that, after attending a New to Grief empowerment retreat, you may want to attend a Week of Renewal in the future. It’s certainly not a prerequisite for attending a Week of Renewal, but we have designed the programs to complement each other. Attending a New to Grief empowerment retreat does not disqualify you from once-in-a-lifetime Survivor Experiences.

Empowerment Retreats - Bravely Onward

The Empowerment Team has taken some of the most life-changing and exhilarating concepts from the Inner Warrior, Classic Retreats, and Expeditions models and combined them with the Empowerment program. The result? Action-packed programming that taps into your place of mindful challenge.

Maybe after the death your confidence took a nosedive. Maybe you just feel like you’ve gotten complacent and you’re just going through the motions. If that’s the case, then it’s time to break out of the rut of your emotional wear and tear. We often pace those corners of our mind too much, and when that starts to happen, we need something to move us more purposefully. Why pace when you can use every step to actually get you to a better

At our Bravely Onward empowerment retreats, we’ll help jump you out of the beliefs that are holding you back. We’ll replace those negatives with plans for healthy habit change, give grace to one another and ourselves, and release the hold that toxic or extreme fear has on our lives. So if you’re interested in white water rafting in West Virginia or glamping in Alaska before scaling Gold Star Peak, you can lean in to adventure with your sisters.

Erin Jacobson and Emily Muñoz are co-directors of TAPS Women’s Empowerment and Inner Warrior Programs.