It’s finally June and we couldn’t be more pumped that our first ever fully-funded New Attendee Retreat is almost here! Next weekend, we will be welcoming 30 women into the Girls With Guts sisterhood through their first retreat. After nearly a year of dreaming, planning, and a weekend of intense fundraising, we’re so excited to see this event come to life! To get to know us (your Board of Directors) a little better and preview some of the activities we have planned, check out our top ten things that we’re really looking forward to this weekend:

1. Meeting and getting to know 30 amazing new GWGs! We love connecting with GWGs via social media and in our private Facebook forum. However, we’ve seen and love the power of in-person connections! More than anything else, we can’t wait to help these ladies bond and walk away with friendships for a lifetime!

2. Restarting our retreat programming after our change in leadership. We have a mostly new Board of Directors compared to our 2017 Celebration and can’t wait to kick off our New Attendee program! This will be Alicia’s first retreat since stepping up as president of GWG and we’re so grateful for her leadership. She started off as the photographer at our very first retreat in 2012 and we’re so excited that she’s stepping out from behind the camera!

3. Mom jokes from Elizabeth. Our amazing event coordinator has all the lists and all the jokes! In addition to keeping us in line this weekend, we’re sure to get the healthy dose of corniness and sass that you never knew you needed. She’s already named us after various fish (since we’ll be at Trout Lake, ha!) based on our cabin assignments… get ready, Rainbow Trout, Walleyes, Bluegills, and Sunfish!


4. Sarah’s playlist for check-in. Can you really kick off an event without a kick-ass playlist? Our newest board member, Sarah, has us ready to go with a mix complete with Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)”, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”. We’re ready to start celebrating girl power and sisterhood and she’s a great ring leader!

5. Kristen being awkward in nature. Despite being a biologist, our Director of Development, Kristen, isn’t much of an outdoors girl. In addition to tripping over tree roots and hiding from the sun, you can expect to find her trucking around in her hot pink IV backpack, showing off decorated ostomy bags, and being super excited to compare medical histories and scars.

6. Disconnecting from the craziness of the world. We hold our retreats away from the busy world for a reason! Life with IBD or an ostomy has its fair share of stress and anxiety, and we want to give you a chance to relax and recharge without interruption. Get ready to laugh, cry, and breatheeeeeeee.

7. Kintsugi. A favorite activity from our 2016 retreat, Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and our first activity scheduled for the weekend. We see this as a great metaphor for life with a chronic illness- out of brokenness, something even more beautiful than the original can be created! We’d like to think that Girls With Guts does exactly that- connecting women who are struggling and and helping them live their most confident and empowered lives!


8. Breakout sessions. We’ll separate into smaller groups to talk about the things that our new attendees really care about. J-pouchers, ostomates, and IBDers who’ve not yet faced surgery will each get their own sessions in addition to dedicated time to talk about mental health, family planning/parenting issues, and how to manage school or a career with living with IBD and ostomies.

9. The climbing wall and archery. We know that GWGs can do anything! We can’t wait to get outside, expand our horizons, and show off our skills while surrounded by our supportive GWG sisters.

10. Movie night. We’re holding the ultimate IBD/ostomy ladies slumber party! We’ve got face masks, nail wraps, crafting supplies, and custom snacks from our newest partner, Epicured. Get ready to party with a group of ladies who think about poop as much as you do and won’t judge your for taking four bathroom trips in a two hour movie!

To our new attendees, we can’t wait to see you in just four days! If you missed out on coming this year, be sure to look for the applications for our 2020 retreats. If you’ve attended GWG retreats in the past, make sure you don’t miss out on our annual retreat in Colorado this November- registration is open now!


What you’re supporting when you help fund GWG retreats: a 2019 New Attendee Retreat recap A Mother’s Day Adoption

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