SheLift Carbondale Retreat

It’s hard to believe that SheLift is now in its third year and with four retreats, 20+ young women and four locations under our belt, I have to pinch myself that this once unimaginable dream has come to life.

As SheLift continues to grow, our mission has been to expand our reach and make sure that our programming is able to impact women of more abilities – making this past fall the first year to include a different group of differences!

To celebrate this fourth retreat, we wanted to bring our largest group of women yet, together for an all-out camping experience in Carbondale, Colorado. For a weekend under the stars, our ladies learned how to pitch a tent, filter water, stand up paddle board, hike, and more.

Each night we hosted intimate group-lead coaching workshops with Jen Hudak that challenged the women to reflect deeply on the labels and circumstances that have made them feel different, and how to overcome those obstacles.

Hear from some of the girls who attended the retreat, and be sure to watch the full video to see the life-changing experience we had.

On this #GivingTuesday, rather than asking for your approval or holiday dollars, I'm asking you to help these young women feel seen. Help their stories be heard, help young girls who might be growing up like them know that they aren't alone.

If you can give anything on this #givingtuesday, please consider giving this video a share. And if you can make a donation, those are welcome as well so we can continue to make differences represented in media, and provide community and opportunity for these deserving bad-ass babes.

the thing that stands out the most in my mind is watching everyone build the tents on the first day. Some of us had camped before and others it was the first time ever being in the woods, but I loved watching and experiencing how differently we all went about building them and just learning to laugh at the different challenges we face because of our physical differences. Whether that was trying to hold the tent poles and put the pegs in place with a single hand or different heights, it was a moment filled with laughter and growth—right off the bat!
— Alex
It definitely brought me out of my comfort zone and I was sooo hesitant about it. Especially the paddle boarding. But I did it. And it was truly rewarding which led me to realize I can do way more than I think!
— Electra
I think one of the biggest things I took away was  not to hold myself back or stop doing the things I love just because I think I look silly because chances are I just look like a badass doing them. Also that pretty much everyone has insecurities about something even if they don’t have a physical difference. We camped, we hiked, we SUPed, we slept by animals, soaked in the hotsprings, peed in the woods, ate outside... so I would say it was a great adventure!
— Courtney
My experience at the SheLift retreat was more than rewarding. I knew of both internal and external mountains, but the retreat gave me the confidence to begin conquering them. I read a quote once that said, “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide,” and that was my take away. I was able to express and share my own stories and experiences while being relayed those of so many others. I will cherish the lessons, mentorship, laughs, and experience forever.
— Emily
I got to photograph all of my new SheLift friends in a very vulnerable state and it was so empowering. I feel honored to have been able to capture such beautiful and powerful images of these girls in a new place, around new people, after they had done a lot of new things. They are all literally glowing in their photos and this set of images is something that I’ll hold dearly to me forever.
— Natalie
I think being able to give so many of the girls dating advice was really special because I think you need someone to walk you through all the potential scenarios that could happen, and how even if they do happen, it’s ok. I liked encouraging them to get out there and be more vulnerable.
Being able to share my experiences with SheLift and provide a safe space for girls to be their true authentic selves was why I wanted to be a mentor. I loved getting to know the girls on this retreat and it was powerful to witness the raw and real connections formed in such a short period of time.
— Kim
I really enjoyed coming on a SheLift retreat as a mentor. I loved getting to chat with the girls ahead of time and answering any questions and easing any fears that they had going into the retreat. I loved watching all of the ladies open up and become more confident in themselves throughout the week.
— Kaitlin

Thank you to LifeStraw for making our video production possible and to The Guest House Colorado for being our host. Special thanks to all of our selfless volunteers and brand partners for your time, donations and love for SheLift. Thank you to Megan Ambrose and Natalie Colapietro for the beautiful images that will help us remember this retreat for a lifetime.

To learn more about SheLift, please visit us at

Our efforts are made possible thanks to contributions made by donors.

SheLiftsarah herron