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Vermont: Touching the Earth: A Homestead Retreat for Young Adults

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, July 28 – August 19, 2023
This three-week immersion for young adults (ages 18-25) on a secluded Vermont homestead is an opportunity to cultivate self-awareness and deepen your relationship with others and the living earth. Our small learning community will explore the Buddhist concept of interbeing through the fields of permaculture, ecology, living systems theory, ecopsychology, social justice, and climate studies.  Readings on these topics will feed rich discussions, often facilitated by students.  Applications Due: March 27

New York: June Wake-Up Retreat (ages 18-35-ish) (Zen/Mindfulness)

Blue Cliff Monastery, June 21- 25, 2023
You are invited to join other young adults (ages 18-35 or so) for a time of practice, inclusiveness, and fun. The Wake Up movement was founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh as a way for young adults around the world to come together and practice mindfulness in order to take care of themselves, nourish happiness, and contribute to building a healthier and more compassionate society. During this time together we will explore the practices of sitting, walking and eating meditation, while building community through Dharma sharing and simply being together.


New Hampshire: Green Dharma: Finding Presence in an Earth-Based Lineage (Tibetan Buddhism)

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge | June 14, 2023 – June 18, 2023
In this retreat, we will engage in a transformative journey – first considering the truths we know, metabolizing what we come to see, listening for the wisdom in ourselves and arising between us, and the possibilities of embodying new ways of being. We focus on connecting deeply with source, metabolizing loss, learning to seek and dwell in connection rather than isolation, in curiosity rather than despair and in love rather than fear. Participants will learn and experience:

  • Earth based meditation practices
  • Communing with and in the wild as our natural home
  • To develop and sustain circles of kin, especially through the Council process
  • Listening deeply to self, other and the living planet
  • Finding refuge in body as an earth-based resource

New York: Dharma Drum Retreat Center (Chan/Zen)

YBSC Regular Guest Teacher Rebecca Li
May 27 to June 3 (Sat-Sat) | Intensive Silent Illumination Retreat
August 25-27 (Fri-Sun) | Beginner’s Mind Retreat

Washington: Young Adults Explore Buddhism (Vajrayana) 

Sravasti Abbey, June 9-15, 2023
Sravasti Abbey invites young adults aged 18 to 29 to explore the Buddha’s teachings within our American culture. No meditation experience is necessary; just an open and curious mind/heart. The course includes meditation instructions and practice, daily teachings and Dharma discussions with abbess, teacher, and author Ven. Thubten Chodron, and working outdoors in beautiful gardens, meadows, and woodlands in northeastern Washington. Meet like-minded friends who question pop cultural values and want to find purpose and meaning in their lives. All our programs are offered on a donation basis.

California & Massachusetts: Retreat for 18-32 Year Olds (Theravada)

Insight Meditation Society in MA, July 26 – August 02, 2023: More info here. Full with waitlist, but waitlist moves quickly.**Scholarships** available. Don’t let the list price scare you.

Spirit Rock in CA, late July 2023: More here.

Join a community of young people exploring the breadth and depth of the heart and mind in a silent retreat setting. With the Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion as our guide, we will cultivate a wholehearted attention to the present moment, leading to an embodied ease, clarity and kindness.

Oregon: Great Vow Zen Monastery (Zen)

Summer Residency Program, July 6 – August 20, 2023
The Summer Program is an opportunity to plunge into Zen monastic practice with the support of community and teachers, and taste the benefits of calming the mind and opening the heart. Our Summer Program is a special part of our on-going residential program at the monastery. Each session is designed to give you a genuine immersion in Zen monastic practice, through the practices of meditation, mindful eating, ritual/liturgy, movement practices (yoga/qi gong) and temple work. Support from the teachers in the form of sanzen (face-to-face practice interviews), classes on Zen practice and states of mind, study and retreats/workshops are also an essential part of the monastic residential experience.


Michigan: Summer Monastic Retreat at Zen Buddhist Temple

Various times during the summer
We come together in community to learn the practical skills of waking up both for ourselves and others!  Zen Buddhist Temple is a residential urban temple nestled among spacious vegetable and flower gardens in Ann Arbor close to the University of Michigan Campus.  Our practice schedule includes early morning, noon, and evening meditation practice and liturgy, Buddhist study and daily dharma discussion, work with the hands, and community service.  This year we will be planting trees, landscaping our new building and planning its opening ceremony, and preparing for our annual peace camp.

We accept students at all levels of experience who are willing to commit to the discipline of our practice schedule for at least one week.  Cost is $75/week or $300/month with scholarships available for those in need or with special work skills.  Simple accommodations and vegetarian meals are provided. The program is guided by Ven. Haju Sunim, temple priests, and dharma teachers.  For further information and an application form:  734.761.6520 or or visit our website.


New York: One-Month Monastery Residence (Zen)

Zen Mountain Monastery, Upstate New York
(Program available most months.)
For a college student, a month of residency at Zen Mountain Monastery offers a rare opportunity to nourish the whole self, not just the intellectual mind. Here, the study of Buddhist texts is grounded in practice, in community, and in the little joys of everyday life. Many of our residents speak of the pleasure of simple work: sewing, chopping vegetables, planting and harvesting, dying cloth, and taking care of the buildings and grounds we rely upon. The community of monastics and residents is a rich source of friendship and mentorship, ready to offer everything from spiritual guidance to a good laugh. Residency also provides an opportunity to establish or strengthen a practice of seated meditation — in addition to periods of zazen each morning and evening, the month concludes with sesshin, a week long silent meditation intensive. It’s important to us that finances not be a barrier for any potential resident. The training office is happy to offer financial assistance and sliding scale payments upon request. We specifically encourage women, people of color, and LGBTQIA people to apply, and we commit to nourishing a supportive, welcoming, and diverse spiritual community. For more information, please see, or contact us at, 845-688-2228.

Virginia: The Dalai Lama Fellows

Dalai Lama Fellows, founded in 2010 with the inspiration and encouragement of the 14th Dalai Lama, is reimagining leadership by cultivating and supporting a global movement of next generation leaders applying universal values and local understanding to solve global challenges at the communal level.  The program is secular and ecumenical. We award year-long Fellowships to such next generation leaders that are working on social change projects in local communities to address one or more of the following areas: mitigating economic disparity, diminishing violence, gender inequity, improving cross-cultural and interreligious cooperation, facilitating new and more holistic educational approaches, and enhancing environmental sustainability. The application deadline of Dec 2022 has passed, but to learn more for the following year, visit the site.

Dharma Gates is an organization that focuses on providing retreat opportunities to young adults on a dana (donation- based) model. More here.

Summer Apprenticeships and Dharma Residencies

San Francisco Zen Center, located in downtown San Francisco, has several Apprenticeship programs as well as Guest Student stays.

Green Gulch Farm, which is affiliated with San Francisco Zen Center, and located in the North Bay Area has summer work-study through their farm, kitchen and temple Apprenticeship programs  as well as through their traditional Guest Student stays.

Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) has many centers worldwide, several of which welcome volunteers. More here.

I have had students who deeply enjoyed summer work- study at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley.

Karme Choling Summer Residency– more here.

Tara Mandala Living Dharma Apprentice Program– more here.

Menla Mountain Center has volunteer work-study– more here.

Temple Stays:

Woodenfish Foundation is offering a free one-month temple stay in Taipei, focused on Humanistic Buddhism.

Short- term temple stays are also possible at Sonoma Mountain, and many temples in Korea and the US.


Omega Institute welcomes student work-study.

Findhorn Foundation welcomes volunteers (three-month minimum)

There are many other holistic learning centers that welcome volunteers (which I have varying degrees of knowledge of) listed here.

For organic farm volunteering, see WWOOF.