Donna Panfil Remembrance Retreat

Donna Panfil Remembrance Retreat

Donna Panfil Remembrance Retreat

The full day Donna Panfil Remembrance Retreat is for teens and adults coping with the death of someone close to them to come together to share, honor, express, and process your feelings around grief. We hold this retreat in honor of Donna Panfil who died when her children were in grade school. The Panfil Family, the Burgess Family and Willow House hope to empower courage, healing, and strength to those who attend. Utilizing the outdoors and the creative arts, we hope that you will find moments of peace, relaxation, and self-exploration throughout your day spent with us. We look forward to connecting through nature, art making, journaling, yoga, and more!

Location: Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods
21850 Riverwoods Rd, Riverwoods, IL 60015
Date: Saturday, June 4th
Time: 9am-4:30pm

Participants: For Teens ages 11-17 years old who have had a parent or sibling die & adults (18+). *Open to Willow House Families and the community. If you are not yet a Willow House Family an intake is required to join the retreat. 

A light breakfast, catered lunch, and snacks will be provided.

For questions, please call us at 847-236-9300 or email [email protected]


  • We believe the answer to this question is a very individual, personal choice. Whether your loss was one month ago or fifteen years ago, you are welcome to join us. Please keep in mind that during the retreat, and whether you register as an adult or teen, there are scheduled activities that will involve group discussion, storytelling, journaling, art-making and movement. If you have concerns and/or questions about yourself and/or your teen and would like to speak to the Retreat Coordinator, please contact Kelsey Hoeper at [email protected]

• We will supply nearly all of the materials needed for the retreat, including a journal and a pen. Whether you are registering as an “Adult” or as a “Teen,” you will want to wear comfortable clothes for yoga/meditation/walking; sunscreen; fairly sturdy shoes for walking the nature trails; a photo of your person(s), if you wish.
• Adults: Please bring 2-5 magazines for one of our art projects

• While we understand the desire for a parent to want to provide that comfort and presence to their child, it is our goal to provide a unique experience just for teens. We recommend having conversations with your teen about whether or not they feel ready to participate without you there. It is also our hope that the teens will leave the retreat having made wonderful memories, friends and connections!

• While we deeply acknowledge the many forms of loss that exist, a relationship that has been disrupted by mental illness, abandonment, addiction or estrangement is very different from an experience involving physical death. For that reason, this retreat is only offered to individuals who have experienced a physical death loss.

• We will strive to offer brief opportunities for individual check-ins and processing if needed.

  • On the registration form, you will be required to complete a form that informs us of your dietary restrictions. We can accommodate vegetarians and those on gluten-free and dairy-free diets. If you prefer to bring your own food, please let us know in the form. 
  • We kindly request that if you are unable to attend, you inform us as soon as you can through an email or phone call within 48 hours of the event.