Rites of Passage: A Contemplative Retreat for 8-11 Year Olds

with Leslie Gossett

September 6th—September 14th

Date details +
  • $475 Program Price
  • $600 Patron Price
  • Or write in your pre-arranged financial discount

Program Description
Rites of Passage marks and honors the transition that occurs in children at age 8 to 11. Children at this age naturally become more independent, and are ready to take steps toward becoming engaged, caring, and responsible members of their family and community. The child is introduced to their potential as a compassionate being—one who faces the events of life, big and small, with an open heart, inquisitiveness, dignity, and fearlessness.

As part of this rite, children are empowered in the practices of meditation and contemplative arts: haiku (poetry), ikebana (flower arranging), kyudo (archery), calligraphy, bowing, and object arrangement. Parents are asked to acknowledge and honor a child’s growing independence, allowing them both more freedom and more responsibility.

The program culminates in a ceremony and celebration in which the parents honor and celebrate this new independence, and the children take a warrior’s vow to be kind to themselves and others and receive gifts representing compassion, fearlessness, and their own basic goodness.

Parents and guardians are an integral part of the Rites of Passage program. At least one parent or guardian must participate with their 8-11 year old(s). Parents and guardians will have programming to discuss their children’s growing independence, and how to foster it and care for themselves during this transition.

  • To participate, the child and a parent/guardian must attend the full group camping retreat and the ceremony.
  • Group Camping Retreat
    6:30 PM Friday, Sept 6 through 5:30 PM Sunday, Sept 8
  • Ceremony: Saturday, September 14 from 10 AM to 1 PM
    At Shambhala Meditation Center of San Francisco
    1231 Stevenson Street San Francisco, CA 94103


Please join us for a live webinar to answer and questions you may have about the program on July 10th from 7-8 PM Pacific Time:


Please contact Wendy Anderson at anderson [dot] wg [at] gmail.com with any questions.

Leslie GossettLeslie Gossett has been involved in the Shambhala Families and Children Council for many years, and has led Shambhala Family Programs, Children’s Programs, Teen Programs, and Rites of Passage in 2014. She is also the founder of Be You Yoga and Mindfulness for Families and Children. She has worked with children for over 20 years. A certified yoga teacher for children and adults, and a Meditation Instructor in the Shambhala tradition, Leslie offers a path for children, youth, teens, parents, and families to connect with the strength and wisdom of their own hearts. In her free time, you can find her brewing herbal potions, learning to speak dragon, and building faery houses with the amazing children in her life.

Logistic details

  • We will be at a lovely group campsite in the redwoods, near San Francisco. 
  • Families should bring their own food and camping supplies, i.e. tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, etc. The campsite has flush toilets, drinkable water.
  • Minimum age is 8 years of age at the time of the program.
  • Younger siblings are welcome to attend. Though we won’t have specific programming for them, they can join the parent/guardian group when 8-11 year olds are doing their activities.


Tentative Schedule for Group Camping

Friday, September 6th

3-6:30 PMArrival, Play, Set Up, Dinner on Your Own
6:30 PMCampfire & Welcome
7 PMRites of Passage Story, Meditation & Bowing Instruction
9 PMQuiet Time

Saturday, September 7th

8 AM Breakfast on Your Own
9 AMFamily Meditation
10 AMIkebana (Flower Arranging) / Parenting as Path
1 PMFamily Activity
1:30 PMCalligraphy / Parent Free Time
3:30 PMFree Family Time
6 PM Dinner
7 PMCampfire, S’mores, Songs
9 PMQuiet Time

Sunday, September 8th

8 AMBreakfast on Your Own
9 AMFamily Meditation & Discussion of Vow
10:30 AMHaiku, Object Arrangement / Parenting as Path
1 PMFree Time
2:30 PMKyudo / Parents Pack Up
4:30-5:30 PMClosing


6:30 PM Friday, Sept 6 through 5:30 PM Sunday, Sept 8

San Mateo County

Saturday, September 14 from 9 AM to 2 PM

San Francisco Shambhala Center

Price & Registration
Program price $475 for each 8-11 year old attending.
This covers the cost of the program, including teachers, supplies, and campsite.

Patron price: $600 for each 8-11 year old attending.
Paying the patron price helps support families who are not able to pay the full tuition. 

If the program price is a hardship, please email anderson [dot] [email protected] [at] com with the amount that is feasible for your family.

Registration Deadline
July 23, 2019
We cannot offer refunds after this date, as we need to purchase supplies and pay for teachers’ time for registered children.

  • Please complete the registration with the attending parent/guardian’s details. We will send you a separate survey to get information about the participating child.
  • If you are registering more than one 8-11 year old in your family, please complete this registration for each participant.
  • Our program capacity is 15 x 8-11 year olds. If program is full, email Wendy to be added to the waitlist: anderson [dot] wg [at] gmail [dot] com 






We appreciate you registering and paying online. This helps us not only to plan for the program, but speeds up the registration line on the day of the program.

Generosity Policy
The San Francisco Shambhala Center is funded solely by your membership and program donations. Thank you for your generosity as you consider what you can pay for each program at our Center. We strive to price our programs in a way that accurately reflects the financial need of our Center and the cost to us of producing the program.

We are committed to offering our programs to everyone, regardless of their financial situation. If you are unable to meet any of our listed pricing tiers please contact us to discuss your current needs. In addition to offering scholarship pricing for those in need, we also offer the option of paying for some programs in installments.

In order to request use of the Generosity Policy, please contact the person listing under the program’s contact information, or email: info [at] sfshambhala [dot] org, at least one week prior to the program you wish to attend.

What is the Patron Price?
The other aspect of our Generosity Policy is our Patron Price. Those who are able to offer more than the regular program price can select the Patron Price option.  By selecting this option, your generosity is helping to cover the costs of those who may not be able to pay the full price of the program. Thank you for your consideration, and for helping all to receive the treasure of the Shambhala Dharma.

Work Study
We depend on volunteers to make all of our programs happen. If you are interested in offering your support in this way, please contact volunteer@sfshambhala.org. We would be very grateful.

For information about becoming a San Francisco Shambhala Member, please visit this link.

Visitor Information
Visit these links for information about parking, lodging, or our programs policy.