Spring Thaw: A Retreat For Men Who Love Men
We are excited to announce Spring Thaw: A Retreat for Men Who Love Men, building upon the beautiful tradition of the Rowe Labor Day Retreat. We welcome all Gay, Bisexual, Trans, & Queer men.
Please join us March 31 -April 2, 2023 for a weekend of reconnection and community.
Rowe Labor Day Retreat for Men Who Love Men
September 1 – September 4, 2023
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames. – Rumi
Rowe Labor Day Retreat for Men who love Men is open to all gay, bi, trans, queer, and questioning men, and we welcome self-identified men of all races, cultural backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic statuses, body types, physical abilities, gender expressions, and neuropresentations!
We welcome YOU, all of you, to join us.
Tradition of Support and Love
Now in it’s 39th year, the Rowe Labor Day Retreat is one of the longest running gatherings of men who love men in the United States.
Rowe is a place of transformation, providing emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual nurturing experiences that support us on our journey. For new participants, Rowe is a safe place to explore coming out, to spread your wings, and to make real friends. For those returning, Rowe offers a real connection with men who value spirituality and personal maturity. This nourishing experience offers a bridge to a more connected view of the gay community and the world. See and feel beauty in yourself and in other men. Expect the unexpected.
We strive to maintain our Rowe traditions and to create an environment where you feel welcomed and supported. We invite you to come and check out our program with workshops led by skilled facilitators. It is thoughtfully created to provide opportunities to explore relationships, body work, art, dating, theater, singing, meditation, spirituality, movement, and much more. You’ll get to laugh, play, dance, grow, and maybe even shed some tears of release.
Year after year we see happiness and love in the faces of men, as life-long friendships and sweet memories are formed. Please join us.
You are welcome here!
In their own words
“What brings me back to Rowe each Labor Day Weekend for the last four years is the community of the men who come here each year. To be in the midst of other gay, bi and questioning men allows me freedom to be the authentic man I truly am. We have all grown to love and to respect one another. Each year, I look forward to sharing and learning from new men as well as from the close friends I have made in past years. We are all on a similar journey of improving ourselves in body, mind and spirit. To a deeper extent each year, I have experienced brotherhood, joy, enlightenment, shared sadness, love, compassion and awe. ”
In their own words
“Rowe Labor Day for Men Who Love Men has allowed me to explore my heart and sexuality in a safe place with trustworthy men of different backgrounds, different sexualities, and different gender identities. Continuing to stay in touch with Rowe brothers throughout the year nourishes me.”
— Tom L.
In their own words
“Rowe Labor Day offers respite for the soul, nourishment for the spirit, and vision for leading an authentic life.”
— Bradley C.
In their own words
“The Rowe Labor Day Retreat helped me to discover the beauty and splendor in being a gay man. It helped me find my power again.”
— David R.
In their own words
“The Rowe experience has the ability to leave each man with meaningful connection, self knowledge, healing, and appreciation of other gay men. It is a weekend when we can be kind to ourselves and our gay brothers.”
— J. Morales
In their own words
“I spent this past weekend at The Rowe Center in Rowe, MA with 25 other gay men for a weekend retreat. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that I needed to be there. While I had no expectations, I was not prepared for the life changing and life saving event that took place. Not only was Rowe beautiful, the men that I met there are unlike any others that I have met. The connections and bonds that I built with these guys in such a short time are moments that I will forever treasure. These guys are a part of my family now. There are no words to describe the experience other than amazingly beautiful. I am blessed beyond measure.”
— Dennis C.
A Sample Of Workshops From 2022
Tie Dye Workshop (with Jonathan Ford)
Show your true colors!
Reclaim your youth with an updated, vibrant tie dye tee shirt. This workshop provides everything you need to make your masterpiece. In a step-by-step demo, participants will experiment with twisting, scrunching, folding, and/or swirling techniques to create fun and beautiful patterns. Several popular patterns will be featured, or use your imagination and create your own. The instructor will also give tips on dye application for best results. Participants should consider wearing older clothes for this workshop in case of splatter or spills.
A Vision for You: A Vision Board Workshop ( with Doug Moffat)
Indigenous peoples have known for centuries the power of stories. Elite athletes
are trained to visualize crossing the finish line before their feet hit the starting
block. Neuroscience has proven the power of stories and visualization. What are
This workshop is an invitation to create the story you want for your whole life.
Using the tools of guided visualization, journaling and collage you will create a
vision board, a concrete picture of the story of your life you want to actualize to
design a whole life for yourself.
I think Bloody Mary from South Pacific captures it perfectly,
♫ “if you don’t have a dream how you going to have a dream come true?” ♪
Body Painting (with Christopher Morgan-Janes)
Body painting is a workshop which honors all who identify as men. This body painting workshop is done respectfully and with your permission. With celebratory music, we slowly remove all or some of our clothes before having our bodies painted. This is a sensual, non-sexual activity.
Please join us and celebrate our bodies!
Chakra Meditation with Live Music (with Nirmal Chandraratna)
Listen to your body, and hear what it has to tell you. In this workshop, we will explore various issues in our lives through the contemplation and expressive engagement of chakras and koshas, which are maps of the body originating from yogic practice. Following an informational discussion, we’ll begin a guided meditation, working with movement, music, poetry and visualization to get out of your head and into your body. Chakra meditation can aid in growing into a more creative and kinaesthetic experience of your life.
Gilgamesh: A Storytelling Workshop (with Nirmal Chandraratna)
Express yourself dramatically through the retelling of the queer, wild, epic story of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest surviving world myths. We’ll be using our own personal narratives—revealing episodes from our own personal epics— to discover parallels between ourselves and timeless myth, and in doing so, we can learn how myths can relate to our own journeys. Story of Gilgamesh and his intimate relationship with the Wild Man Enkidu is a source of inspiration and inquiry into the powerful themes of love and the quest for meaning. Come have fun and tell us your story!
Nature Spirit Connections for Insight and Healing (with Jay Thomas)
Nature speaks to us in many ways when we listen with intention. Join us for some personal explorations using shamanic divination methods where we’ll open up to the Spirit realms. We’ll create sacred space and then connect with Spirit—through the trees, the water, the soil, the rocks, and the clouds—for self-discovery and personal growth. The Earth holds important messages for those attuned to its power.
Power Through Play (with Wil Fisher)
Stepping into your power can be an intimidating process- especially for GBTQ men who might be turned off and resistant to the dominant ideas of what power is and how it’s expressed. Together, (playfully!) we’ll take a look at the shadow side of our relationship with power. Then, through play, we’ll experiment with accessing our unique versions of power and expressing that power in authentic ways.
Heel Yourself Drag Playshop (with Wil Fisher & Scott Harris)
Tired of the monotony of everyday life, and drab men’s attire? Longing for some excitement and the thrill of aliveness? In this lovingly guided session, we take your hand as you step back in to the closet, only this time, who knows who’ll be coming out!!!
Through this transformative process you get to experience the freedom of letting go, cracking your chrysalis and spreading your gorgeous, rainbow wings and taking flight as the magnificent, fabulous YOU, you’ve always dreamed of being!
In this safe, sacred space, find yourself supported and guided through the fashion do’s and don’ts of DRAGDOM. Discover inner strength and power as you don heels, lipstick and a gown. Free your inner Diva and HEEL YOURSELF!!!
Touch Me! (with Arnie Katz)
All of us want to be touched. Yet, sometimes asking for touch can bring up fears of rejection, insecurities about our appearance, feelings of vulnerability, issues of worthiness, and even old wounds and memories. What if we created a space where we can bypass old stories and practice asking for touch, knowing that we will receive it in a SAFE and RESPECTFUL manner? In Touch Me, each man will have opportunities to ask for touch and to have the experience of receiving it. We will work in pairings and groups to help diversify and expand our experience. Participants can expect to gain an increased sense of connection, and the ability and practice of asking for what they want, and of course, to receive a lot of nurturing touch! This workshop will be done with clothes on, with respect for people’s boundaries and health concerns.
Journey into Deep Relaxation (with Arnie Katz)
Relaxation can be hard to come by during these fast-pace and turbulent times. We are easily distracted by all the tasks, technology, and the challenges and responsibilities of daily life. Most of us aren’t even aware of how unrelaxed and anxious we are until we take the time to stop and slow down. Journey into Deep Relaxation™ is a guided relaxation where we will unplug from the noise in our minds, the tension in our bodies, and the fast pace of life. Take time to slow yourself down and catch your breath. Using relaxation techniques such as guided imagery and progressive mind/body relaxation, you will be guided on a slow soothing journey into a very deep state of relaxation and peacefulness. This class is especially good for those who have trouble meditating, sitting still, or have very active minds. Join us to experience a calmer state of mind and enhanced well-being.
Rainbow Release - Healing the impacts of Internalized Homo Shame
In this experiential workshop participants will explore the ways that internalized homo shame arises in their lives and experience multiple ways of identifying, understanding and healing in order to liberate their original blessing.
This workshop is intended to be clothing optional. Feel free to dress in as little or as much as you choose for this workshop. This is a safe space and all men’s choices are accepted and celebrated.
Reclaiming Our Inner Greenman Nature Walk
Long ago, men were raised to be stewards of the environment and apprenticed to work in consort with land and landscape. From these relationships with place, we fed and nourished ourselves (mind, body and spirit), and we knew deep connection with our kith & kin in the natural world. For generations, gay men have played a special role keeping these traditions and connections alive…and the planet needs us today more than ever.
Join John Forti on a nature walk exploring the diverse habitats of Rowe. Together, we will learn to read the historic landscape, forage for and make an herbal tea, reclaim nature play, rekindle our role as earth stewards, and rediscover joy in the spirit of the greenman!
Recovering from Religion: One Gay at a Time
Although LGBTQ+ people have deep soulful intuitions and longings, we have often been alienated and traumatized by the institutions that claim stewardship of spirituality (churches, temples, synagogues, mosques). In this workshop we will safely explore our trauma (emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual) at the hands of these institutions and seek ways of collecting our fragments and healing our souls.
Meet The Directors
Nirmal Chandraratna is a New York–based Kirtan artist and composer with a passion for nurturing connection— to spirit, to community, and to one’s deeper self— through music. Using the voice, the harmonium and the cello, he creates music for Kirtan and Sound Journeys, and works for communal performance. Nirmal also teaches yoga with a focus on body positivity.
Michael fell in love with the Rowe Labor Day Retreat in 2007 and has been a regular participant since. He is a bit of a vagabond having been a house restoration contractor, teacher, and psychotherapist. He lives in Providence, R.I. where he works as a crisis interventionist and yoga teacher. Stops along the way include Seattle; Boston; Martha’s Vineyard; Yamanashi, Japan; Ayrshire, Scotland; and Salamanca, Spain. He speaks three languages and loves a good poem. Spiritual centers of gravity include yoga, Unitarian Universalism, Vipassana meditation and 12 step programs. His passion is helping others to clear blockages and make space for new possibilities in their lives.
Karl Paulnack lives in Ithaca, NY with his husband Dave and their dog Mato. Karl is an interfaith chaplain at the Cayuga Medical Center and a peer mentor with the Cancer Resource Center of Ithaca.
Karl is devoted to cultivating a broad and inclusive tribe of men-who-love-men, beyond sexual orientation. He has been a featured workshop presenter and speaker for groups of men spanning fraternities, abuse survivors, recovering addicts and spiritual communities. He identifies spiritually as a shaman, with a deep appreciation for ritual inspired by the Catholicism of his childhood as well as the contemplative and reflective life inspired by Buddhist practice.
Meet The Leadership Team
This program would not be possible without the talent and dedication of our amazing leadership team.
(additional members coming, check back soon)
Nothing, including summer camp, has been left untouched by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The Rowe Center has implemented a number of changes designed to ensure a safe and supportive camp environment for all guests. Our full COVID protocol for adult camps can be found at the link below.