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  • What is the focus of Healing Warrior Hearts Retreats?
    There are currently four versions of the Healing Warrior Hearts Retreats, giving veterans who would like to tell their story and shift the emotions connected to that story an opportunity to do so in a group of people who have similar experiences: Individual veterans – for anyone who has served in the military (discharge status is not required to qualify) and would like to tell their story and shift the emotions connected to that story Couples – for committed couples (living together, married) and at least one member of the couple is a veteran – both partners must attend LGBTQ+ – individuals who have served in the military and identify in the spectrum MST – individuals who have experienced military sexual trauma during their service
  • Who produces the retreats?
    In Wisconsin, The Starfish Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is committed to helping trauma survivors do their emotional healing and find joy again. The foundation produces the Healing Warrior Hearts retreats, doing events, projects and grant applications, to raise funds to cover the expenses of the retreats so that veterans can attend at no cost to them. The members of The Starfish Foundation are veterans and civilians who are deeply committed to helping others find the peace and well-being that they found through Healing Warrior Hearts, Taking It Lightly and other trauma-healing programs. Members of the foundation and the general population volunteer to staff the retreats to provide the support that is needed to do emotional healing work, including therapy professionals and specially-trained instructors for the retreats. In Texas, the retreats are sponsored by Texas for Heroes, Inc., also a 501(c)(3) organization, operating in the same fashion described above.
  • How much does it cost?
    The retreats are free for veterans (and their life partners for the Couples retreat). We believe that they already “paid the price” with their service to our country in the military. We want to thank them for their service and freely give them the support they deserve. Register now for a retreat through our Registration Portal
  • Who are the retreats for?
    Anyone who has served in the military is welcome to attend. Discharge status is not a factor and a copy of a DD214 is not required. Length of service, branch of service, location of service or MOS, combat or non-combat – it doesn’t matter. All are welcome! Veterans who come to our retreats are looking for mental and emotional peace, through release of emotions related to circumstances of their service. They have a story they want to tell and that needs to be heard, unconditionally and compassionately, by fellow veterans and civilians. You are ready to attend a retreat if you are wanting your life to change, to be more positive and peaceful. You will be able to share as much or as little of your story as you choose. We will take time to help you create emotional safety and make connections with the other retreat participants and staff. We will share laughter and meals, maybe tears, as we build camaraderie and, for some, life-long friendships. Healing Warrior Hearts is non-denominational – we honor your spiritual or religious practice and do not promote a specific philosophy beyond respect for the individual. We are non-discriminatory to race, age, gender, sexual preference, discharge status or type of service. We say it this way, “There is only One Heart, and it matters to this One.” Register now for a retreat through our Registration Portal
  • What does a Healing Warrior Hearts retreat look like?
    Retreats are small to provide quality, individualized attention – maximum of 10 participants and a staff of two leaders, and at least one staff person as a mentor for each participant plus several logistics staff. We gather on Friday evening at 7pm to get to know each other and set intentions for the retreat. Saturday morning we start at 9 am, spending the day hearing the stories of participants and honoring their willingness to do the emotional healing work. On Sunday, we start at 9 am and focus on closure for the story and setting intentions for positive future, with a graduation ceremony at 5pm. Local participants return home each evening (ending times vary based on the number of participants in the retreat). Participants who travel into the retreat city will stay at a near-by hotel. Lodging expenses are covered by the sponsoring organization.
  • Are there any prerequisites for attending a Healing Warrior Hearts retreat?
    Yes, you must be a veteran! It is also important that you are sober when attending the weekend (you will be able to take all prescribed medications) so you are present to the experience. You must be open to possibilities of change and growth and committed to attending the full retreat. Register now for a retreat through our Registration Portal
  • What will I get from attending a retreat?
    Information on emotional intelligence, which will assist you in managing your emotions and relationships Understanding of how brain, body, emotions work together The basics of post-traumatic stress and moral injury (soul wound) and how they affect behavior and emotions An opportunity to release emotions you may be carrying from your military experience or other areas of your life A community of friends, both veteran and civilian, who care about your well-being and will support your growth and healing An Emotional Well-Being tool kit with tips for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness, plus tips for building better relationships A back-pack full of gifts
  • What kinds of things will we do during the retreat?
    Art, Psychodrama, Story Sharing, eating good meals together, laughing, learning and growing. The retreats are therapeutic in approach. The retreats are not recreational.
  • After the retreat is over, what happens next?
    You will have new “battle buddies” who will support your continued growth There is a support system after the program that includes other resources for personal growth, events and opportunities to give back You are welcome to come back to staff as often as you would like and your life allows
  • Does it make a real and lasting difference?
    We started doing retreats in 1993. Many of the graduates are still friends today. Like all growth and new ways of thinking and being, integration requires practice. If you use what you learn, it will be yours for life. The more involved you are with helping fellow veterans and sharing what you learn, the deeper you will integrate it. Bottom line here is that it is up to you - use it or lose it!
  • What are the staff background / credentials?
    Healing Warrior Hearts retreats are peer-based programs, although some of our instructors and staff are licensed therapy professionals. However, they do not attend in their professional capacity. Our instructors are specially-trained in peer work and are dedicated to life-long learning and healing. For more information about our team, visit our Who We Are page.
  • Where does the funding come from for these retreats?
    The retreats are funded by a non-profit sponsoring organization (The Starfish Foundation, Texas for Heroes) who raise the funds through events, donations, and grants. The cost to provide a retreat varies based on location. What is important for you to know is that both organizations are totally volunteer, including administration, marketing, and fundraising. That means approximately 95% of funds raised go directly to the promotion and production of the retreats.
  • How can I help with a donation?
    You can make financial donations online via the non-profit organization’s website – The Starfish Foundation or Texas for Heroes. You can make a one-time donation or a recurring donation, as you wish. All funds donated for Healing Warrior Hearts will be properly designated and used only for the retreats and retreat-related expenses. You can also donate other resources (land, stock, legacy donations). Please look at the non-profit organization’s website for more information. You will receive an acknowledgment letter and tax receipt for your donation. You can help raise funds and awareness with go-fund-me-type personal fundraisers, a personal event (yard sales, Rock-a-Flock flamingo invasion (Wisconsin), bowl-a-thon, etc) or other creative adventures. One young woman, for her Bat Mitzvah, created beautiful greeting cards and sold them with the proceeds going to The Starfish Foundation. She also offered to write personal notes to the veterans in the cards and donors could designate how many cards they wanted her to write. She raised over $2000 with this wonderful project.


Wisconsin HWH Retreats:


The Center for Creative Learning

10919 W Bluemound Rd #50

Wauwatosa, WI 53226.



Forty Winks Inn

11017 W Bluemound Rd

Wauwatosa, WI

Texas HWH Retreats:


VFW Post 9182

6206 George Bush Dr

Katy, TX 77493



At a nearby hotel

Other important logistics:

  • Facilities and hotels are handicap-accessible.

  • No weapons are allowed on retreat site. Military apparel is allowed, however no rank please!

  • Participants must attend all sessions - Friday evening 7pm until complete, Saturday 9am until complete, Sunday 9am until complete through graduation on Sunday evening at 5pm.

  • We provide lodging for Friday and Saturday night if you are not from the local area of the retreat.

  • You are responsible for your dinner on Friday before the retreat and Sunday evening after the graduation.

  • Meals provided on Saturday (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and Sunday (breakfast and lunch)

  • You are responsible for your transportation to the city of the retreat and to the retreat location. We may be able to assist with transportation from airport, train or bus station to the retreat location - please ask.

Group therapy
Graduation cap icon

You are Invited!

We invite you to visit a Healing Warrior Hearts Graduation


Celebrate the participants’ courage to heal, meet the staff and other supporters and learn more about the retreats. Visit our registration portal for dates and locations.

Please note that our registration portal and database is handled by the Center for Creative Learning. The Upcoming Retreats button above will take you to the page for Healing Warrior Hearts retreats.

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