On May 19th, 40 brain injury survivors, primary caregivers, and members of the LYB family convened for the second annual LoveYourBrain retreat at Zeno Mountain Farm. For six days, this community shared their personal experiences with brain injury, techniques to help them thrive, laughter, tears, songs and brain-healthy meals. The week culminated in everyone running the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, raising spirits and funds to support the LoveYourBrain and Zeno communities.
Themes consisted of:
Resilience | Power of the mind | Finding purpose in adversity | Movement | Nutrition for brain health | Building community
"When I was making my way up from FL to VT for the Love Your Brain camp at Zeno Mountain Farm I had an extremely hesitant, nervous attitude. But as the days went on I opened up more and realized the people I was with were like a family. Whether you had a TBI or not, everyone was treated the same: with acceptance, understanding, empathy compassion, love, and sympathy. A new goal of mine is to take the lessons I learned and the good energy from my time at camp and bring it to every person I come into contact with from now on. Words cannot express how much more peaceful my soul feels after having experienced a week of, yoga, meditation, holistic nutrition, gorgeous hikes, good vibes, everyone's positive mindset, and an abundance of laughter and love. I am eternally grateful because I now have a community I can always look to for help, support, or just an understanding ear that will listen." - Sage, TBI survivor
Thanks to art therapist Carolyn Crottyn at Whirled Tree Arts, we created and decorated masks over three days. This allowed us to explore the "masks" we all use to cope with daily life and unearth some of the strengths and vulnerabilities of our own deeper selves.
Camp had a big focus on brain rejuvenating food. At each meal, we explained why we used the specific ingredients and encouraged people to try new things. We also held a silent breakfast to introduce everyone to the process of eating mindfully. Everyone left camp with a cookbook of healthy recipes to continue nourishing their minds and bodies throughout the year.
Each morning, we held yoga and meditation classes to start the day with greater mindfulness, calm, and a sense of empowerment.
Congrats to the 93 individuals who collectively made up Team Brainfarmer and who all together ran over 700 miles in the marathon raising over $62,000 for the two partner organizations. Running in relay teams, pairs, and solo, the survivors, caregivers and family of supporters sported limegreen shirts and were cheered on by the entire Burlington community. Thank you to the over 700 donors who helped make this event such a success. It was an epic day, and we'll see you next year.
Most importantly, throughout the week, survivors and caregivers together with the LoveYourBrain family were able to cultivate a community of like-minded individuals, where everyone felt accepted and embraced no matter their differences.
LoveYourBrain works with the dream of creating a larger community around the country and abroad where survivors, caregivers and everyone can feel accepted.
Big thanks to KIND snacks, Vermont Juice Co, Deep River Snacks, Clifbar, Whirled Tree Arts, Healthy Living, Talent Skate Park, Vewdo Balance Boards, Deborah Fournier