Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What should I bring?
Bring comfortable clothing and dress in layers. The weather at our locations can shift dramatically. For retreats at Kirkridge, you should bring a flashlight as it tends to get quite dark at night and plenty of bug repellant. You may want to bring a yoga mat and an extra pillow to be more comfortable during some of our sessions. Coffee, tea and water will be available throughout the day, but you may wish to bring some additional snacks. There are no stores within walking distance. Also, bring all meds that you may need and pack them in your carry-on if you are flying to the retreat! We will not have any extra meds in case you forget yours or if they are lost by the airline!
Do I have to be HIV-positive to attend?
No. Our retreats started out as retreats for men with HIV, but over time have evolved to welcome both HIV+ and HIV- men. Although people living with HIV face some unique challenges and share certain experiences, we have found that the underlying common ground of our human connection will easily bridge that gap in the right environment. Our hope is that the rift within the gay community that has been existing along the HIV-lines will be healed.
Do I need to have certain religious beliefs to participate?
NO! In fact, we encourage you to not even believe what we say, but to take in the information and weigh it against your own experience. Our stance is that the truth is objective and will remain what it is regardless of what you believe. We will draw on the wisdom of many world religions in illustrating the spiritual connections and bonds we all share. We fully respect each person's beliefs whether they be religious, agnostic or atheist.
Is it safe to reveal my personal information when registering?
Yes. No personal information submitted to us is shared with any third parties or sponsors. The only people who will have access to your information will be the retreat facilitators and administrators.
What about privacy and confidentiality during the retreat?
We have a strict rule of confidentiality for all retreats and gatherings. This means that you are not authorized to reveal personal details about any other retreat participant to any third party. This obviously serves to protect every person at the retreat and helps create a safe environment where we can all relax and grow together. No cameras or recording devices will be allowed at any of the retreat sessions or public gatherings. However, you are free to take photos of people during off-times provided that they consent to being photographed.
Do I have to find my own roommate?
No. You will be matched with a roommate by us if you don't specify the person you want to share rooms with. Most people attending the retreat are coming by themselves. This is a great way of getting know another person better. A limited number of single rooms will be available on a first-come, first serve basis.
Can I drink alcohol at the retreat?
This is a drug and alcohol free event and we ask that you refrain from drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs for the few days that you are at the retreat. If you are noticeably intoxicated during any of our sessions or if you behave in a manner that is interfering with the enjoyment of the retreat for other participants you may be asked to leave without any refund or compensation.
Are drugs allowed?
No illegal drugs are allowed at the retreat. Any person found to possess or be under the influence of illegal substances will be expelled from the retreat with no refunds given. This decision is final and not subject to review. If you are taking legally prescribed marijuana or marinol, we ask that you limit your intake to what is absolutely necessary as it may have a negative impact on what you will get out of the retreat. Smoking of any kind is forbidden inside all buildings at the retreat center!
Will people be having sex?
This is not an orgy or sex party gathering. We will be at a spiritual retreat center so we ask all participants to be mindful of that and refrain from inappropriate behavior. If you make a special connection with a person and go off to a private location together, nobody will mind, but this event is about community and thus we all need to make sure we respect each other. Use common sense!
How do I apply for a subsidy?
- Your age
- Amount of time being HIV-positive if applicable
- Employment status
- Yearly income
- Amount that you feel you can afford to pay for the retreat
- City, State and Country where you live and will need to be traveling from
Scholarships will be given in proportion to funds available and level of financial hardship. There will be no complete scholarships for total fee elimination, but it is our ambition to make it possible for all who wish to attend to do so. Some scholarship attendees will be placed in triple room accommodations.
How often do you hold these retreats?
We have been holding these retreats every year since 2008. Currently we only schedule one retreat per year.
Can I bring my pet to the retreat?
Only service animals are allowed at the retreat center.