Why Windcall Might Be Right For You
If you’re working to make social, environmental or economic change, you know it’s an endless struggle… a struggle that can leave you exhausted even when your work is fulfilling. You might need a chance to step back and catch your breath – in a place where you can stretch out and see the far horizon..
During these times, now more than ever, movement organizers understand the need for healing from the impacts of trauma due to the unjust circumstances we are constantly struggling with, as well as strengthening mind/body/spirit for long term sustainability in movement work. We see self and community care as an integral part of the social transformation we work towards.
Since 1989, the Windcall Resident Program has been a place of retreat, renewal, and rest for those engaged in work for social, environmental and economic change as community or labor organizers. Over 650 people have had a chance to reflect and find inspiration – even transformation – in this experience.
Who should apply?
Windcall Residents and Mindful Breathers are organizers and leaders in local and national efforts to achieve social, economic and environmental justice in the United States and Puerto Rico. We give first consideration to grassroots community and labor organizers working in communities of color and low-income communities.
We also accept applications from cultural workers, advocates and activists. If you’re an advocate or activist, your application will be enhanced if you can demonstrate how your work substantially engages other people in taking collective action for social change. If you’re a cultural worker, please tell us how you work with and in communities. If you work for an organization with a strong social service focus, please describe how you engage your community in creating change.
All Residents and Mindful Breathers must have at least five years experience with organizations demonstrating their long-term commitment to social change.
Can I bring someone with me (or my pet)?
Windcall Cohort Residency is for individuals only, although spouses and/or partners who are both qualified for the program may attend Windcall at the same time, as long as they each put in an application, qualify and are accepted. Cohort residencies do not accommodate children or pets.
Windcall Mindful Breathers are designed only for individuals who have caregiving obligations, such as children, elderly family members or partners with disabilities. Only in this instance, the individual is able to attend the Breather by themselves or take up to 2 friends or family members whose presence will help provide an experience of rest and renewal. We have one Breather site that may allow service animals on a case-by-case basis – please note this on your application.
When and how long are the Residencies?
In Fall 2023 and Spring 2024, we expect *but cannot yet guarantee* residencies with the following site parters.
- 3-week Residencies will be held in:
- October 2023 at Olympic Peninsula, WA
- November 2023 at Point Reyes, CA
- April 2024 at Olympic Peninsula, WA
- March 2024 at Rancho Gallina, NM
- May 2024 at Old Lyme, CT
- 1-week Breathers for organizers with caretaking responsibilities will be held in:
- October and/or November, 2023 at Point Reyes, CA
- October 2023 in Lake Tahoe, CA
- January 2024 at Laurel Springs, TN
- March, April, and/or May 2024 at Point Reyes, CA
- March 2024 at Pinelands, NJ
- February, March and/or April 2024 at Foxfire Ranch, MS
- May 2024 at And Roses, NC
Some Residents take more time to travel when they come to Windcall, giving them a head start on decompressing. Windcall also strongly recommends that you give yourself a few days without working once back home so you can slowly come back into the work.
If your organization offers a formal sabbatical policy, incorporating a Windcall residency into that scheduled time off is a great idea too when considering your timing to apply.
A word about the length of the time away, given how hard you may find it to envision being gone for that long:
Research indicates that at least three weeks is needed to both unwind at the most basic level and achieve a higher level of insight – a level that could make your one-time Windcall experience truly transformative and positively impact you and your work for the long haul.
The payoff of taking this time to reflect and recharge is palpable. Residents (and their colleagues) notice the difference when returning. Residents are more patient, clearer on their own and their organization’s objectives, and more encouraging of work/life balance. These qualities are needed, more than ever, in hard times. So while you and your organization will have to be creative about how to cover your work while you are gone (and Windcall’s coaches can help you with this), the payoff will likely be you returning with the energy and vision your organization needs at this time.
Please bear in mind that you have worked hard for many years – you deserve this appreciation from the social justice movement – and your work (and you!) will benefit immensely. As one former Windcall Resident said,
“I came back clear and relaxed about a lot of different things in my organization. My time at Windcall gave some other staff the opportunity to step up and take more responsibility. I came back clear on the direction I want to go in this organization and in my life. Windcall came at the right time as I’m thinking about my life and my career.”
Several years ago, we pivoted to also offering 1-week Mindful Breathers to those organizers who take on caretaking duties with loved ones on top of their organizing work. We recognize that the residency length of time is just not doable under those circumstances. During the 2020-2021 season, we briefly shifted ALL our residencies to 1-week Mindful Breathers due to the ongoing global pandemic! We found that many can use a short “breather” to recharge themselves and are amazed at the changes they feel in just one week of cultivating intentional spaciousness. We support your commitment to care for others and aim to support you to find some space to care for yourself through our Mindful Breather program.
Does Windcall cost anything?
Windcall is a gift from the movement to the movement and Windcall welcomes Residents at no cost during their stay.
3-week Cohort Residencies: Your lodging and meals are covered plus a stipend for optional activities to explore transformative practices. A car rental subsidy for the retreat is provided for the cohort, up to a pre-determined amount for one vehicle to be shared. Your personal costs include: roundtrip travel to your Windcall site and your part of fuel costs for the rental car within the Residency area. These costs vary depending on the site, distance and transportation preferences, and can range from $400-$1000+.
1-week Mindful “Breathers” for Caretakers: Your lodging is covered plus a stipend for food, car rental, and optional activities to explore transformative practices. Your personal costs include: roundtrip travel to your Windcall site plus the extra food and activity costs depending on whether you choose to take up to two friends or family members. These costs vary depending on the site, distance and transportation preferences, and can range from $400-$1000+.
Windcall provides a sample fundraising letter for use in crowdfunding for your Residency or Mindful Breather costs – and your organization and/or its funders might be open to supporting your sabbatical as well.
The full cost of each Residency is valued over $10,000 and Mindful Breathers at over $4,000. These are funded through alumni gifts, donors, site donors and foundations. We welcome your gifts and those of your organization, union, association or funders to help us cover the costs. (You can donate here)
How do I apply?
Prospective Residents apply through the 2023 Windcall Residency application, which requires a resume and 2 recommendations. The deadline for the 2023 application cycle is 9am PT on Monday, April 3rd.
How are Residents Selected?
Residents are chosen by a national Selection Committee comprised of Windcall Alumni who are familiar with the challenges faced by movement organizers. The Committee will review all applications to place residents with our available residency openings.
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications, we cannot place every applicant with a residency.
What does the Selection Committee look for in considering the applications?
When reviewing your application, our Selection Committee will ask the following questions:
- At this point in your life and work for social change, why would a period of reflection, removed from the demands of day-to-day life, be beneficial to you?
- To what extent have you taken a leadership role in social change issues?
- To what extent do you engage other people in taking collective action for social change?
- Do you work (paid or volunteer) in a community-based/membership/organizing/advocacy organization or union? Can you demonstrate how your social change work is central to the mission and goals of the organization/union?
- How long have you worked on a particular issue? Windcall requires applicants to have at least five years experience as an organizer or activist. You need not have worked for five years at the same organization, but you should demonstrate how your commitment to specific issues is significant, focused and long-standing.
Please be sure to address the above questions in your responses in your application. We ask you to provide two references and may interview you as well.
Where are the Windcall Cohort Residencies and Mindful Breathers located?
All Windcall sites have comfortable accommodations in beautiful natural settings.
The Residency programs are held at a variety of locations and sites vary from year to year. Our site partners for 2023-2024 are listed here. In the past, we have had sites in New Mexico, Washington state, Upstate New York, Montana, Vermont, North Carolina, and California.
If you are selected, we will send you more information about the specific sites. Not every site works for everyone and we will work with you to match you to the best site according to your available dates and the best location for you.
Most Windcall alum are people of color who have been tremendously and positively impacted by Windcall. We strive to create an environment that is supportive given the limitations of the locations, which are not in areas where people of color are the majority. One way we aim to do that is by creating cohorts where the majority or all of the Residents are people of color. Many of our coaches are people of color and they are also a resource to you during the Residency. We encourage you to bring up any concerns or issues you encounter during the Residency or Mindful Breather to us at any time.
For 3-week Residency Cohorts: you will have a private room and shared common areas with 2 or 3 other residents, as well as cozy private areas like porches, hammocks, lofts or even a tree-house. The kitchen is stocked with basics for breakfast and lunch. A chef prepares the evening meals. We serve healthy food that is largely vegetarian or vegan for those who prefer it. We also accommodate Residents with food allergies. The Windcall chefs aim to please, and are generally open to suggestions as well as requests that reflect the cultures and dietary needs of the Residents. Windcall Residencies are offered in a smoke-free environment.
For 1 week Mindful Breathers: you can choose from a beach house, a private casita in a BnB, or a mountain cabin within a resort, each with their own kitchen facilities. Each site is able to accommodate up to 3 people. Each site features are unique and can include: hiking trails, outdoor activities, hot tubs, or cozy fireplaces for indoor renewal. Windcall Mindful Breathers are offered in a smoke-free environment.
Some Windcall sites are accessible to people with disabilities. Please inquire with us regarding current sites and their level of access. You can send an email to Jayeesha Dutta, Windcall’s Program Director.