June 11 – 14, 2020

Join Us for This Deeply Connecting
Family Retreat
in beautiful Boulder, CO

The #1 question we get asked at The Mindful Center is “Do you have anything for families?”  So here we go!
{Recommended age group for kids: 12-17}

The Chance of A Lifetime…

When you’ve got kids, everything happens so fast!  The school week blurs by with early wake ups and lost backpacks, with after school sports consuming our energy, then dinner and homework and a quick kiss goodnight before we wake up to do the whole carnival all over again!  Things can get left unsaid.  Hurts get left untended.  Barely a moment to connect and understand each other…

Don’t you wish we could just slow things down a bit?

We are going to do just that, through outdoor experiences and mindful play, this June, in one of the most pristine places in the world…an incredible 300 acre private property in Boulder, Colorado.

From Michelle: “In high school my best friend was a girl by the name of Monica Fitzgerald.  Well, she grew up to become a clinical psychologist and Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.  Her work focuses on developing programs that build strong adult-youth relationships, social-emotional skills, skillful interactions with youth, and intentional, supportive environments. Oh, and did I mention she also integrates mindfulness-based strategies that are accessible for families???  Whelp, she and I are coming together for this incredible Whole Family Retreat, designing mindfulness activities for both parents and their kids to come together in an incredible outdoor environment.  This is literally my dream retreat to host.  So important.  So much fun.  So meaningful.  We hope so much you and your kids can join us!

Here are some of the topics we’ll be blending into fun and engaging outdoor activities:

  1. Mindful Connection: this topic will include exercises, workshops, and play around mindful communication, using several of the models that Dr. Fitzgerald uses in her lectures and teachings around the world.  We’ll also be exploring the focus of Rhythm, Routine, and Rituals as opportunities within our daily family life for building greater connection between parents and kids, with special attention being paid to the cultivation of “micro-moments.”
  2. Making Mistakes Mindfully: this topic will allow us to learn skillful ways to “circle back” with our family and friends when we make mistakes, so that mistake-making becomes opportunities for growth and deepening love, rather than fear and resentment.  We’ll play around with the concept of the “mistake ritual,” having a “mistake ritual talent show” so that everyone knows it’s not only OK to make mistakes, but there’s a way to recover and rebound within the family structure so that everyone feels supported, even when we do something dumb.  We’ll check out what it means to “flip our lids,” giving both kids and parents more language around what happens to us when we get stressed out and how to ask for help from others.
  3. Time for Resting and Playing in Nature: We’ll be going on some good ol’ fashioned scavenger hunts, we’ll be doing some cloud watching and dreaming, and we’ll also have a special “mini-solo” experience as well, so that we can all spend some alone time in nature before sharing what we discovered on our own with the group.  This time will also include some intentional craft-building using natural elements, all designed around bringing a reminder of something meaningful and important back with us into our home lives, to hang on our family wall as a reminder of our time together and what we’ve learned…a keepsake to be treasured.

An amazing opportunity to make new friends, share stories, learn some mindfulness and real-life strategies on making mindfulness a part of our new family structure…this will truly be the retreat of a lifetime!

Basic Schedule

Thursday, June 11th:
Light snacks and orientation at co-hosts family home in Boulder, CO.  Meet your hosts, the other families, and understand how the weekend will progress

Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13
Breakfast: On your own
10am -4: We’ll come together up on the fabulous mountain property we have been so kindly granted for our retreat!  Includes lunch.
Evenings: On your own with your family in Boulder
Sunday: June 14:
Breakfast: On your own
10am-1pm: We’ll come together for our last half day of retreat activities, to be done by 1pm.


No lodging is included with this retreat.  We encourage all retreat participants to check out the lodging in Boulder, and the drive to our retreat location will be about 15-20 minutes, depending.  Here are some recommendations for lodging in Boulder:

AirBNB and VRBO (of course).

Affordable hotels in the area include: Holiday Inn Express Boulder, Rodeway Inn and Suites Boulder, Millenium Harvest House, Boulder University Inn, Best Western Plus Boulder Inn, Alps Boulder Canyon Inn, and Element Boulder Superior.

We also found many available houses to rent on the website Kayak.


You will need transportation to and from our retreat location.  We will be providing everyone detailed maps, and the location is easy to get to and easy to find.  As we develop our list of participants, we are happy to send out emails to everyone in order to set up shared ride/ carpooling situations if possible.  Uber and Lyft are also great options if you would rather not rent a car.

Your Hosts

Dr. Monica M. Fitzgerald is a clinical psychologist and Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. She directs the Center for Resilience & Well-Being in Schools, a Center of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (www.nctsn.org)She is also faculty of the Center for the Study & Prevention of Violence working on a NIJ-funded Safe Communities Safe Schools Initiative. Dr. Fitzgerald is Principal Investigator on several federal, state, and local grants and values community-academic partnerships. Her work focuses on developing and evaluating prevention and intervention programs (e.g., RISE: Resilience in Schools and Educators and Let’s Connect) that build strong adult-youth relationships and safe, supportive environments in schools and families. These programs are trauma-responsive, resilience-promoting, social emotional and achievement oriented, and culturally responsive. They aim to promote adults’ well-being, social-emotional skills, skillful interactions with youth, and intentional, supportive environments. These interventions integrate mindfulness-based strategies that are accessible for educators and families.

Dr. Fitzgerald is an expert in childhood traumatic stress and family interventions and co-directs local SAMHSA funded initiatives focusing on community capacity building and dissemination of evidence-based, trauma-focused treatments for youth and families. Her expertise areas are resilience, social emotional development, mental health and well-being in youth and adults, and promotion of positive adult-youth relationships. She obtained her masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in childhood traumatic stress from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Dr. Fitzgerald is a parent of three children (ages 12,13,14) in a blended family and lives and works in Boulder Colorado. She delights in moments of connection during the challenges and joys of family life. Monica enjoys hiking and rock climbing in the flatirons, mountain biking, skiing, yoga, travel and sangha in Boulder.

From Monica: Much of my work has focused on supporting families to build, find and maximize moments of connection in their relationships and to help caregivers talk with youth about their life experiences, especially the more challenging and sensitive topics (e.g., life changes, moves, divorce, adversity, trauma, illness, death).  I can’t wait to host this incredibly meaningful retreat with my childhood friend Michelle…we’ve been friends for more than 30 years and it’s exciting to have our specialties come together on a mountain in Colorado!  How fun!  Let’s do this!

michelle duval headshotMichelle DuVal, MA, is the director of The Mindful Center, as well as the leading provider of Mindfulness Training in the Southwest United States, with her ongoing programs appearing in such top organizations as Presbyterian Hospitals, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, the New Mexico Heart Institute, the Albuquerque Public School system, the City of Albuquerque, the Department of Energy, and more. She’s one of the top rated teachers on the international meditation app Insight Timer, and has been a guest speaker at conventions and conferences across the world.  Her programs have been involved in numerous clinical trials, including pre and post saliva testing measuring stress and clinical trials at the University of New Mexico measuring mindfulness applications for the pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia and interstitial cystitis.  All of her programs and guided meditations are evidence based, steeped in research, and skillfully interweave the profundity of the practice with the humor of insight every step of the way. Her skill in teaching comes not only from training with some of the top meditation masters in the world, but also from years of learning, practicing, and teaching with her father, Jim DuVal, the founder of The Mindful Center.

Michelle is the proud parent of twin seven year old boys, whom she takes with her on meditation retreats all over the world. 

Cost for 1 adult and 1 kid is $650.  Every family must purchase this option.
This includes all retreat activities and supplies, 3 healthy lunches, snacks and beverages.
Each additional family member is $250.

So for additional members of the same family, you would purchase the 1 additional Adult or Kid option per additional family member. 
So for example, 2 parents and 2 children would purchased the 1 Adult, 1 Kid option PLUS 2 Additional Adult or Kid options.

Day Course in Mindfulness Dec 1 2018

1 Adult 1 Kid Boulder Family Retreat

$650.00 Learn More
Day Course in Mindfulness Dec 1 2018

1 Additional Adult or Kid Boulder Family Retreat

$250.00 Learn More
Settling the Mind on the Breath Meditation

Breathing can be an immediate tool for calming the central nervous system. This short meditation can be done anytime, anywhere you want to take things down a notch and ease your stress.

I hope so much it helps,

Middle of the Night Meditation

The next best thing to sleep is rest. If you can use this meditation to help you move into a state of rest, you are at least now moving in a good direction. So don't be discouraged if it doesn't put you right to sleep. Use it to put you to rest, and then see what happens.

I hope so much this helps,

Focusing the Mind Meditation

If you Google what the top ten most successful people do on a daily basis, more than half say they meditate.

When our mind gets scattered, it's hard to be efficient and effective. Try this short practice to interrupt any overwhelm and refocus the mind.

Hope it helps!


One of the most important practices
toward developing mindfulness, this
meditation increases our ability to
use the mind to relax the body.
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