“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead


We’re so excited to be offering our retreat again this year –
Online as well as In-Person once again at last!


This year the theme of the conference is “The Power of Writing Together”.



First weekend Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023

Friday September 29 – IN PERSON ONLY

Click HERE to download a PDF copy of the schedule.

4:00 – 5:00 pm EDT

Check in at the Retreat Centre

Jericho House, 10845 Rathfon Rd, Port Colborne ON L3K 5V4

5:00 pm EDT Dinner and settling in
6:00 pm EDT Welcome Gathering
7:00 – between 8:00 and 8:30 pm EDT Write and Read together as AWA Affiliates
8:30 and beyond Hanging out with your colleagues or retreating to your own quiet space


Saturday September 30 – HYBRID – In Person AND Online

(Please note: September 30 is National Truth & Reconcilliation Day in Canada, and now in parts of the US as well. This is the day Canadians wear orange to remember the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools and never returned, and to honour Survivors, their families and their communities.) https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/what-is-orange-shirt-day

8:30 am EDT Breakfast
10:30am – 12:00 noon EDT

Trauma Informed and Trauma Responsive:

How to recognize it and what to do when trauma shows up in your workshop

With Jen Cross and Meadow Jones

12:00 noon EDT Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:30pm EDT

Keynote Address – by poet and activist, Ellen Bass

Transforming Trauma into Art

2:30 – 3:00 break Bio break – rest and refresh, move
3:00 – 4:30 pm EDT

Writing as Therapeutic vs. Writing as Therapy – and the intersection with the AWA Method

As AWA facilitators, how do we present ourselves and our workshops with regard to claims of healing? What do we promise? How do we deliver?

With Maureen Buchanan Jones and Carla Hanson, moderated by Jan Haag


5:00pm EDT Dinner
Rest of evening At leisure


Sunday October 1– In Person

8:30 am EDT Breakfast
9:30am – 12:00 noon EDT

Inspired by Images

“Step into a scene and let it drip through your fingertips.” — MJ Bush 

Ekphrastic writing has been described as “taking the visual and transforming it to the verbal.” This form of writing, used for centuries, encourages writers to use visual art as a muse for putting words to paper. In this workshop, participants will explore the use of images as a source of inspiration for imaginative writing. The workshop will include a taste of SoulCollage®, an expressive arts method through which we’ll create and write from our own images. (A background or experience in art is not required.) Participants will have the opportunity to share their work—if they choose—and receive positive, uplifting feedback. All supplies will be provided! Join us!

With Kimberly Lee

12:00 noon EDT Lunch Break
1:00 – 3:30pm EDT Field Trip –Write at the Falls – facilitated by Deepam Wadds, supported by facilitators present
4:00 – 5:00 pm EDT

Check in at the Retreat Centre for SELF DIRECTED PORTION of the Retreat

Jericho House, 10845 Rathfon Rd, Port Colborne ON L3K 5V4

5:00 pm EDT Dinner and settling in
6:00 and beyond At leisure – hanging out with the other writers or retreating to your own quiet space


Monday October 2–Wednesday October 4 –  In Person, self-directed retreat

8:30 am EDT Breakfast
12:00 noon EDT Lunch Break
5:00 pm EDT Dinner
  Retreat is over after lunch on Wednesday, October 4




Attending the conference/retreat in person

Our In-Person Component will take place September 29 to October 1, with the option of staying on with your colleagues for a 3-day self-directed retreat afterwards. Those who attend the conference in-person ALSO have access to the professional development sessions offered the following weekend online.

For more information about this in-person component, travel arrangements, accommodations, etc.,  as well as information about the extended self-directed retreat afterwards, Click Here:


Attending the conference online

For affiliates who choose to attend online rather than in-person, sessions of the conference will be broadcast from the retreat centre on September 30 (including the Ellen Bass virtual keynote), as well as all the online sessions the following weekend (October 7 and 8).

For more information about participating in the conference online only, Click Here