Programming Connection

Weekend Wellness Retreats 

Positive Women's Network (PWN)
British Columbia


PWN considers evaluation to be a foundational part of the retreat planning process. They evaluate many parts of the retreat to determine whether or not it is meeting its intended goals. At the conclusion of each retreat, participants, professionals and PWN staff are asked to complete a retreat evaluation and this feedback is used to inform future retreat planning. Templates of the retreat evaluation forms can be viewed in the Program Materials section.

In 2006, to continue improving programming, the Wellness Retreats underwent an evaluation process by independent reviewers. These reviewers examined documentation from previous retreats, conducted interviews with staff, and held two focus groups with retreat participants.

The feedback from this evaluation was remarkably positive. As one participant said when referring to the supportive setting that was created to allow each woman to talk openly and deal with personal feelings, “magic happens.” The magic was described as “life altering” by another woman who simply loved the opportunity to finally be herself in a safe and supportive setting. The evaluators identified recommendations for future retreats. Please see the Program Materials section to review the evaluation report.

PWN has mailed the Wellness Retreat Manual to several AIDS service organizations in Canada who have carried out retreats based on the PWN model. In 2010, the PWN support team presented a poster on the retreats at the 6th Canadian HIV/AIDS Skills Building Symposium in Montreal and at the 19th Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research in Saskatoon. They also presented orally at the CATIE/Pacific AIDS Network 2009 Regional Educational Conference.