Rowe Labor Day Retreat for Men who Love Men
September 2 – September 5, 2022
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. – Rumi
Finding Your Whole
The theme for this year ‘s retreat is “Finding Your Whole”. It’s a playful invitation to explore our lives through the lens of balance and wholeness. In a world that is often far from balanced, and a society with expectations of how and who you “should” be, maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health and bringing your whole self is challenging.
At Rowe Labor Day, we encourage you to bring all the parts of yourself, the broken, the healing, the joyful, the frightened, the playful, the sexy and the lonely. We welcome every part of your whole!
The weekend is both a celebration of your whole self and an invitation to step further into your authentic fullness and new possibilities.
You’ll find workshops for body, mind, and soul, small and large group interaction, yoga, hiking, Enneagram work, ritual, games, dancing, recovery groups, a talent show, great food, and the companionship of other Men Who Love Men.
The Rowe Labor Day Retreat is an experience created over decades by thousands of men like you. Each of us puts in one piece—ourselves—and we get back a whole community unlike any other, anywhere.
Join us for our historic 38th Labor Day Retreat for Men Who Love Men in the stunning mountains of Western Massachusetts.
Bring your piece; find your whole. Rowe Labor Day 2022.
Watch the Co-Directors’ video introduction.
NOW IN ITS 38th YEAR, the Rowe Labor Day Retreat is one of the longest running gatherings of men who love men in the United States.
Rowe is a place of transformation, providing emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual nurturing experiences that support us on our journey. For new participants, Rowe is a safe place to explore coming out, to spread your wings, and to make real friends. For those returning, Rowe offers a real connection with men who value spirituality and personal maturity. This nourishing experience offers a bridge to a more connected view of the gay community and the world. See and feel beauty in yourself and in other men. Expect the unexpected.
We strive to maintain our Rowe traditions and to create an environment where you feel welcomed and supported. We invite you to come and check out our program with workshops led by skilled facilitators. It is thoughtfully created to provide opportunities to explore relationships, body work, art, dating, theater, singing, meditation, spirituality, movement, and much more. You’ll get to laugh, play, dance, grow, and maybe even shed some tears of release.
Year after year we see happiness and love in the faces of men, as life-long friendships and sweet memories are formed. Please join us.
You are welcome here!
In their own words
“What brings me back to Rowe each Labor Day Weekend for the last four years is the community of the men who come here each year. To be in the midst of other gay, bi and questioning men allows me freedom to be the authentic man I truly am. We have all grown to love and to respect one another. Each year, I look forward to sharing and learning from new men as well as from the close friends I have made in past years. We are all on a similar journey of improving ourselves in body, mind and spirit. To a deeper extent each year, I have experienced brotherhood, joy, enlightenment, shared sadness, love, compassion and awe. ”
In their own words
“Rowe Labor Day for Men Who Love Men has allowed me to explore my heart and sexuality in a safe place with trustworthy men of different backgrounds, different sexualities, and different gender identities. Continuing to stay in touch with Rowe brothers throughout the year nourishes me.”
— Tom L.
In their own words
“Rowe Labor Day offers respite for the soul, nourishment for the spirit, and vision for leading an authentic life.”
— Bradley C.
In their own words
“The Rowe Labor Day Retreat helped me to discover the beauty and splendor in being a gay man. It helped me find my power again.”
— David R.
In their own words
“The Rowe experience has the ability to leave each man with meaningful connection, self knowledge, healing, and appreciation of other gay men. It is a weekend when we can be kind to ourselves and our gay brothers.”
— J. Morales
In their own words
“I spent this past weekend at The Rowe Center in Rowe, MA with 25 other gay men for a weekend retreat. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that I needed to be there. While I had no expectations, I was not prepared for the life changing and life saving event that took place. Not only was Rowe beautiful, the men that I met there are unlike any others that I have met. The connections and bonds that I built with these guys in such a short time are moments that I will forever treasure. These guys are a part of my family now. There are no words to describe the experience other than amazingly beautiful. I am blessed beyond measure.”
— Dennis C.
Examples of workshops from last year
Unmasking Your Voice (with Mark Moliterno)
Welcome to the weekend! Our keynote session is entitled “Unmasking Your Voice” and will feature an introduction to YogaVoice®, a unique and innovative program that will help you find and express your true, authentic voice. This will be a playful, experiential session combining user-friendly yoga and vocal techniques to help you connect to and unmask your unique voice, the voice that already exists within you. We will incorporate the chorus from the song “Grateful” as a musical way of exploring all the sounds your voice can make, and as a fun way to build community connection for the retreat. No previous experience with singing or yoga is required. Come ready to make some sound!
Postural Energetics (with Scott Harris)
Postural Energetics is based on the principles of Psychosomatic Therapy as taught by Herman Mueller, who shows how the body is a reflection of our energy and spirit. Postural Energetics demonstrates that with changes, no matter how gentle, in our posture, we can change everything and can facilitate physical blocks in our bodies to simply melt away, gently and calmly.
In this relaxing 90 min session we will use this approach to demonstrate how posture repositioning heightens awareness and brings balance to the mind and body by identifying and removing perceived physical restrictions, relieving both stress and pain. No experience needed; please dress comfortably.
The Psychology of Unmasking – Discarding Performance Narratives (with Dan Laukaitis)
As children, we learned different ways to behave/perform, these are know as performance narratives. For many they kept us safe or even alive. In this 90 min session we’ll explore why these expectations were put upon us, whether we accepted them, and how they create a mask or veneer that distorted our authentic selves. We will then get to play with what it looks like to unmask, absorb, or selectively keep some pieces of our masks.
Photography Hike (with Dave Dietz)
Join us on a photographic adventure as we rediscover the magnificent landscape of Rowe. As we traverse the grounds we will explore ways to see and think creatively, share technical tips and have a few laughs while capturing amazing pictures. Whether you’re a newbie using a smart phone or an advanced photographer with high-tech gear, this workshop is for you.
Moove to the Groove (with Dave Dietz)
We’ll be taking a metaphoric journey to help you open your heart, free your mind, feel your body, make connections, and have a good time. It’s a free movement dance based on Gabrielle Roth’s theory of Five Rhythms: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness. The music will guide you, but the dance is your own. Clothing optional and appropriate for all fitness and experience levels.
Unmasked Dance (with Dave Dietz)
DJ Purple Turtle (Dave Dietz) spins a smooth mix of tasty tunes. Mixing classic and contemporary dance tracks with the occasional unexpected groovy treat, he’ll keep you moving and grooving to a glorious beat.
Taoist Ways to Transform Stress to Vitality (with David Sklarew)
Learn two meditative practices based on traditional Chinese medicine philosophy to establish a better relationship with your body and transform stale emotions to vitality. The first practice, the Inner Smile, leverages the power of a smile to enhance embodiment/self-love and connect with parts of your body which sometimes are taken for granted (i.e. organs, digestive system, and spine). The second practice, the Six Healing Sounds, provides tools to transform stale negative emotions (i.e. impatience, grief, anger, fear, and anxiety) and detoxify your body. These practices promote joy, happiness, and inner peace.
Medical QiGong for Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional Health (with David Sklarew)
Developed in a Chinese Medical Hospital to treat chronic conditions and enhanced by Taoist teacher Michael Winn, this QiGong form is super powerful. Leverages visualization, affirmations, and slow flowing movements to rebirth a new energy body and super charge it. Contains multiple sections which can be practiced independently or all together depending on time available.
Me and My Shadow (with Karl Paulnack)
We are often encouraged to think of ourselves having “strengths & weaknesses.” This model is false in many ways, and potentially destructive. It can encourage us to exaggerate parts of ourselves we want others to see (psychologists call this the “persona”) while instinctively hiding the rest (the “shadow”) from others and—often—from our own selves.
This workshop explores a more holistic way of looking at our character attributes as neither strengths nor weaknesses, but either/both. For example, a natural tendency towards passion, tenacity or accepting things as they are might all manifest in positive or negative ways: devotion, loyalty and equanimity on the plus side; irritability, stubbornness and complacency on the other.
This workshop will require active individual participation and writing work. Participants will be led through a series of exercises that identify authentic personal characteristics and map both positive and negative manifestations of each. We will also examine a set of four applied practices, “guardrails” that can help optimize and balance our characteristics as they manifest in the world.
The Power of Joining: Functional Subgrouping in the work of Yvonne Agazarian (with Karl Paulnack)
Agazarian, creator of Systems-Centered Therapy, proposed that “living human systems survive, develop, and transform from simple to complex through a developing ability to recognize differences and integrate them.” The problem in modern American society is that too often, we use difference as a form of combat entertainment. Watch 10 seconds of a news show and you’ll see the interviewer cut the speaker off mid-sentence with “but what about….?”
This workshop focuses on the technique of joining, a deliberate practice of finding agreement with a speaker—genuine understanding of their experience—before introducing difference. This can be harder than it sounds. This will be active, participatory group work, combining explanation and demonstration with practice of specific techniques of empathic listening and feedback. Paradoxically, pursuing the “join” first can create even greater space for the work of exploring and integrating our differences.
Meet The Directors
Scott Harris worked in corporate America for 21 years. He is also a behavioral effectiveness coach, Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified Practitioner of Kinetic Chain Release, Postural Energetics and Connective Tissue Release. He is committed to having people experience freedom in all aspects of their life and be empowered to live the lives of their dreams. Scott is a poet, performer and drag aficionado and brings his unique and creative approach to all of his workshop facilitation. Scott leads workshops in the LGBTQ community to both adults and children and has recently joined the staff of the Rowe Center center to follow his passion and purpose in life.
Michael fell in love with the Rowe Labor Day Retreat in 2007 and has been a regular participant since. He is a bit of a vagabond having been a house restoration contractor, teacher, and psychotherapist. He lives in Providence, R.I. where he works as a crisis interventionist and yoga teacher. Stops along the way include Seattle; Boston; Martha’s Vineyard; Yamanashi, Japan; Ayrshire, Scotland; and Salamanca, Spain. He speaks three languages and loves a good poem. Spiritual centers of gravity include yoga, Unitarian Universalism, Vipassana meditation and 12 step programs. His passion is helping others to clear blockages and make space for new possibilities in their lives.
Karl is devoted to cultivating a broad and inclusive tribe of men-who-love-men, beyond sexual orientation. He has been a featured workshop presenter and speaker for groups of men spanning fraternities, abuse survivors, recovering addicts and spiritual communities. He identifies spiritually as a shaman, with a deep appreciation for ritual inspired by the Catholicism of his childhood as well as the contemplative and reflective life inspired by Buddhist practice.
Meet The Leadership Team
This program would not be possible without the talent and dedication of our amazing leadership team.
Production Coordinator and Newcomer Navigator
Bill Chisholm has been teaching yoga and stress management for 30 years. He is certified in Kripalu Yoga and completed Herbert Benson’s Mind/Medicine course through Harvard. He has also done extensive study and practice in vinyasa, Iyengar, and PNF yoga. He is the former founder of Cape Ann Yoga Center and has taught stress management and yoga at the Marino Health Center in Cambridge and several other medical facilities in the Boston Area. He is a fine art oil painter exhibiting throughout New England and a passionate student of both cello and duduk.
Dan Laukaitis is a seeker of all the good things in life…. beauty, love, and helping people. He lives in Saint Petersburg and participates in musical activities, such as the study of voice and guitar. He is Fluent in English and Spanish and is looking forward to spending more time in retirement in the NorthEast. He currently works as a social worker and trauma therapist. He is motivated by good jokes, walks on the beach, soulful conversations with coffee and cannolis.
Dave Dietz is a photographer, designer and DJ who has been the official photographer for more than sixty men’s retreats. His distinctive images have appeared in various print and online publications and exhibits, and he is currently working on a book collecting images captured at Easton Mountain over the last decade. He can also often be heard putting his own spin on the Five Rhythms at conscious dance events or mixing up a smooth blend of new and classic dance tracks at gay events parties.
David was introduced to Tai Chi and Eastern Philosophy in college and has over 25 years experience studying QiGong and other healing modalities. Certified by Robert Peng to teach QIGong Empowerments, he has taught QiGong workshops at Rowe Camp and Conference Center and Easton Mountain Retreat Center. He left a corporate IT career in 2019 and established a healing practice in June 2019 called Healing Intentionality.
Nothing, including summer camp, has been left untouched by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The Rowe Center has implemented a number of changes designed to ensure a safe and supportive camp environment for all guests. Our full COVID protocol for adult camps can be found at the link below.