Newsletter • Fall 2019

Hello friends and supporters! 

We have so many exciting updates to share about Holbrook Farms Retreat!

Season 6 - THREE retreats! Our retreats are growing, which is a huge success.  We had THREE retreats this year - our second ever Alumni Retreat and TWO Survivors of Heroes Retreats, one in June and one in July.  We also had 6 children attend camp at Camp Cormorant during the June retreat, an increase from 4 children last year.  

At the Alumni Retreat in May, we hosted 10 returning Survivors who were focused on giving back.  They helped with several projects around the property and were able to participate in our first annual 5k Fun Run and Open House.  Despite cold weather and rain that day, the run was a huge success (thanks to Eagle Scout Will Daggett for organizing and executing such an incredible event!).  We raised over $4,000 for HFR!  It was amazing to gather these Survivors together to share, laugh, grow, and give back.  Highlights included yoga, breathing exercises, journaling, and guided meditation hosted by two wonderful facilitators Tracy Jennings-Hill and Sarah Nannen.  

In June we had our first Survivors of Heroes Retreat, with 10 Survivors and 2 Alumni serving as facilitators.  For this retreat, JOY was the theme - one Survivor referred to it as a “laugh fest.”  This group arrived with many bearing burdens as they were at tough points in their lives but the amount of laughter and joy exuding truly was the mindset of the week.  Several Survivors challenged themselves to get out of their comfort zones for Lake Day and ended up having so much fun and laughing all day.  

In July, we had our second Survivors of Heroes Retreat, again with 10 Survivors and 2 facilitators.  The first night/morning were quiet and heavy, but by the end they were planning a reunion.  The group transformed in 5 days from quiet and keeping to themselves to an amazing group that really bonded and came together to support one another.  

Here is what some Survivors had to say about their time at HFR:

“Thank you for welcoming me into Holbrook Farms Family.  I have enjoyed connecting with my fellow widow-sisters.  Your home is filled with so much love, with no limits!  I appreciate everything you have given me, I prayed for this moment.  After the loss of my husband, I am able to return home fresh and ready for the world.” 
 “Thank you for this wonderful burden-lightening experience.”  
“I honestly can't find words to fully express how grateful I am for this gift - and the timing was more perfect than any human could have planned.  This retreat gave me the space and time to reflect on the ways my life has changed since my husband died, in a way that my current obligations just haven't allowed me to do.  I not only will carry the memories of this weekend with me, but I will also cherish the friendships I've begun.  Thank you for giving us a means to find each other.”  
“Sometimes I find it difficult to express my gratitude in words - but finding a community of women who just "get" it - is invaluable when I find myself bereft of direction during a phase of life I never anticipated I would experience.”
“Thank you for being so thoughtful and welcoming me to Holbrook Farms.  Thank you for your love and friendship.  My heart is so much happier.”
“Thank you God for planting Holbrook Farms Retreat in Matt and Micaela's mind.  It was so nice to see the old me coming back.  Thank you again for taking care of me and my son.  We both needed a break.”

Holbrook Farms Retreat makes an incredible impact and we were thrilled to be able to speak to multiple groups this summer and share all about HFR’s mission.  
  • Survivor Sarah Merwin and founding Board member Melissa Lorentz spoke at a Detroit Lakes women’s group called PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization)
  • Survivor Sarah Merwin and HFR board member Beth Pridday spoke two Detroit Lakes Rotary Clubs
  • Founders Matt and Micaela Brancato were featured on the radio show Red, White, and YOU in Fargo
We appreciate the chance to share our story with the local community and make more meaningful connections with these wonderful groups.  Thank you so much for opportunity!

How can you help?

We appreciate your support more than ever.  Every time we host a retreat, we are flooded with registration requests.  For every person who is able to attend a Survivors of Heroes Retreat, there are 4 more on the wait list.  As we get ready to officially open up registration in November, we appreciate any kind of support you feel led to offer!  Here are some ways to help:

  • Donate on our website - 100% of every dollar donated goes to Survivors of Heroes retreats.
  • Purchase something off our Amazon wish list - these items support our Survivor retreats!    
  • Wear your support!  Now is your chance to purchase a super soft shirt or sweatshirt for you, a partner, or a friend and have it directly support our Survivors of Heroes Retreats.  All proceeds go to the non-profit so every sale helps.  Purchase shirts click here
  • Talk to your employer about corporate match option
  • For anyone in the military or employed by the DoD, the Combined Federal Campaign is kicking off soon!  Please consider choosing us as a beneficiary.  Holbrook Farms Retreat’s organization code is 51197; no monthly allotment is too small!
  • Follow us on social media and share about HFR’s mission Facebook and Instagram
Matt - Wearing Unisex Tri-Blend T-Shirt in Grey 
Micaela - Wearing Hoodie in Charcoal
Bob- Wearing Unisex Tri-Blend T-Shirt in Blue 
Sarah - Wearing Tank in Grey
Thank you to all of our supporters!  You make the Holbrook Farms Retreat mission possible.  
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Interested in becoming a larger part of HFR?  Have questions? Do you know a Survivor interested in attending?  Please reach out - we’d love to hear from you.

Holbrook Farms Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so all donations are tax-deductible.  All individual donations go 100% towards supporting a Survivor at a retreat.  All income from VRBO goes towards property maintenance and improvements to enhance the retreat experience for our guests who attend Survivors of Heroes Retreats.  Please contact us if you’d like more info on our financials!
Copyright © 2019 Holbrook Farms Retreat, All rights reserved.

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