Over a thousand military veterans attend UNM. These students have unique experiences that can be both enriching and challenging. In an attempt to help them make the transition from military to campus life and to succeed in school, UNM Student Health & Counseling, in collaboration with Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, is offering a retreat for student veterans Thursday, Sept. 11 through Sunday, Sept 14.

Vallecitos Mountain Ranch is a beautiful and remote retreat facility located in northern New Mexico. Off the cell phone and Internet grid, the ranch offers individual housing in casitas, nutritious meals and scenic vistas all of which helps participants slow down and take a break from their busy lives. The retreat consists of group discussions, mindfulness training and wilderness experiences.

“Students who attended last year’s retreat were unanimously positive in their feedback, using words like ‘life changing’ and ‘amazing,’” said Peggy Spencer, M.D. with Student Health & Counseling. “The retreat helped them forge connections with other veteran students, taught them mindfulness skills for stress management and provided support in the form of professionally facilitated group meetings.”

Spencer added that the students clearly enjoyed sharing the experience together. “They engaged fully with the mindfulness training, which gave them new skills that I'm confident they will carry forward. In group discussions, they were honest and courageous. It was a joy to witness them support each other as only fellow veterans can,” she said. “We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity again to another group of veterans."

The 2014 Student Veterans Retreat has room for 25 participants. There is no cost to veterans thanks to generous donors. The application deadline is March 31.

For applications or more information, contact Peggy Spencer at pspencer@unm.edu or apply online at Veterans Retreat.