Please check our calendar for upcoming retreats, residencies, and other activities.
Please note that due to Covid-19, we are currently holding only online, virtual one-day workshops. We hope to resume in-person residencies in the spring of 2021, if it is safe to do so, and our host has opened their facilities.
Veteran Women’s Voices holds both 3-day residencies and single-day retreats for women veterans in Northern California. These activities provide an opportunity for women to strengthen confidence to write their military service stories, and to build shared community around the powerful act of writing and sharing stories in a supportive, non-judgmental setting.
VWV group gatherings and retreats concern telling your truth, in your own words. There is no need for previous writing experience. Sharing your writing with the group is voluntary. At this time, both retreats and residencies are at no cost to participants; expenses are currently paid by generous grants and contributions.
Retreats and residencies center around a daily schedule that includes:
- mindfulness meditation
- writing guidance through a “prompt” sent out before each retreat
- periods of silent writing
- sharing of work written on that day, with a commitment to deep and judgment-free listening
- response sessions in which we share aspects of each writer’s work that resonate with the listener
Women who participate in either program will be provided access to the online Writer’s Community, as a way to stay in touch with other participants and further share their writing.
Single-day Writer Retreats
Our day-long meetings use the format developed for the Veterans’ Writing Group over twenty-five years ago by Maxine Hong Kingston. We write for self-understanding and personal growth; previous writing experience is not necessary.
Our day typically begins with coffee and informal checking-in with each other. Facilitated by writers from the original Veteran’s Writing Group, we gather formally for introductions and check-ins, and an introduction to the day’s writing prompt, individual writing time, a group potluck lunch, optional reading out-loud of our work, and group discussion. We emphasize mindfulness in a relaxed atmosphere.
The single-day meetings are held in the Greater Sacramento Area, currently at Sierra College in Rockland.
3-day Writer Residencies
Three-day Writer Residencies include many opportunities to gather informally as well as during facilitated sessions activities. Residencies include group conversation, relaxation, writing prompts, art projects, music, optional yoga and nature hikes, and free time to get to know your fellow participants, explore the 700 acre retreat site, participate in a yoga class, or continue your own writing.
Residencies are held outside Nevada City, at the Gaia House, nestled in 700 acres of forests and meadows. We enjoy fully catered vegetarian group meals.
Please note that transportation to Gaia House is not included. We will help to facilitate carpools. Public transportation is available to Nevada City, but you will need to coordinate a ride to the residency site.
In addition to these central programs, facilitators run “mini-writing-retreats” at events and conferences run by other women’s veterans organizations in Northern California. These mini-retreats serve as a way of encouraging women veterans to write, and to introduce them to the model used by VWV and the growing VWV community.
How to Apply
Please fill out our online application.
Please note that all women veterans are welcome to participate in the one-day writing retreats. Filling out the application just helps us get to know a bit about you, your experience, and your interests. We will contact you to confirm your participation at a particular retreat. We recommend coming to a one-day retreat before attending a three day Residency.
Space is limited for the three day Residencies, and so your application assists us in selecting participants for multi-day programs. Priority is given to women veterans from Northern California, and to creating a group that represents women veterans from different branches of the service. Please feel free to re-apply for the Residencies.