Finding Well-Being in the Woods
May 30, 2016 06:30PM
● By Kate Morgan
Just 30 minutes north of Harrisburg on 144 wooded acres in peaceful Duncannon, Pennsylvania, the nonprofit Amethyst Retreat Center provides a respite from life’s hustle and bustle, regularly offering nature retreats, environmental education programs and workshops in yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices and tai chi.
The organization’s aim is to create a community that fosters connection and healing of body, mind and spirit, says Marykaye Flatley, secretary of the board of directors. “We have a quote we often use: ‘Finding our true nature, together,’” says Flatley. “We’re so much happier and healthier when we don’t forget that’s at the core of everything. Community and peace with nature is as important as anything we do in life.”
Amethyst Retreat Center offers programs for the whole family, inviting children to attend Mindfulness and Nature classes from April to October in the center’s woodlands, meadows and wetlands, and offering families the opportunity to work together in a community garden.
There are no membership fees, and all of Amethyst’s programs are donation-based. While it runs on grants and donations, Flatley affirms they are devoted to making programming accessible to all. “We offer everything free and by donation so anyone can come,” she says. “We ask people to bring whatever they have to offer, whether that’s skills, financial resources, food donations or just themselves.”
Local residents are invited to participate in a camping retreat from June 17 through 19 that includes qigong, past-life regression journeys, healing visualization technique, toning circles workshops, yoga and tai chi classes, hikes, bonfires and an excursion to a local lavender festival. “We’ll have tent camping in our large meadow, and some space indoors for people who aren’t as comfortable sleeping outside,” says Flatley. “You can come for the whole weekend or just for a day, and the entire weekend will be family- and pet-friendly.”
Registration is required, but there is no cost to attend. Campers are asked to make a donation or bring food staples and produce for potluck meals. “All are welcome here, as long as they’re loving,” Flatley says. “We really embrace what is beautiful about different paths and ways of being because that is where we find our connection to the Earth and to each other.”
Amethyst Retreat Center is located at 44 Buffalo Creek Rd., Duncannon, PA. For more information, email [email protected] or visit AmethystRetreatCenter.org.
Kate Morgan is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.