SMACT Fall Retreat 2019

Sixth Annual Southern Maine ACT (SMACT) Fall Retreat

Sept 20-22, 2019
Cushing Island, Portland, Maine
8 CEs (will be submitted to relevant boards and pending approval)

Schedule (pending) | Example: Sample schedule from 2017

Register here!  (If interested in a scholarship, read Scholarships sections below.)

Members of the Southern Maine ACT community (SMACT, i.e., current or recent past participants in the ACT Peer Consultation Group or ACT Study Groups) are invited to join an experiential ACT weekend on Cushing Island sponsored and facilitated by our membership. The weekend has multiple purposes: Learn about ACT and have a first-person experience of ACT, share our collective wisdom, gain experience leading a discussion or workshop, connect with one another and build our community, and engage in self-care. We will do this on two levels – as clinicians and as participants – so you are invited to take both intellectual and personal perspectives. There will be a variety of topics, and all will weave into the development of 6 major processes of psychological flexibility.

For 2019, we will have a special guest!  Gina Colombatto, who runs the local Death Cafe in Portland, visited the First Mondays ACT Study Group back in May of this year. She facilitated a discussion on “the fine art of living and dying” that was very well received. Gina will facilitate one of the two offerings on Saturday along similar themes (title TBD).

We are currently assembling the curriculum for the weekend. Please consider volunteering to present one of the other three offerings. Our generous presenters are confirmed! Thank you for volunteering!  Specific wording for this year’s theme is being developed but will generally be in the broad domain of “the ACT of living and dying” or “living and dying every day.” Please contact Joel Guarna ( or Teresa Valliere with any ideas, no matter how general (207-233-9276 or

All participants are encouraged to bring ACT metaphors, activities and resources to share throughout the weekend. We will gather to harvest and share our experience and wisdom. Participants are also invited (totally optional!) to share an “offering,” i.e., a workshop or experiential exercise. Themes should be relevant to ACT, of course, but you have great leeway to make that connection. Format: 2 hours (including up to 30 minutes of processing time). If you are new to this, we encourage you to pair with someone who has attended in the past and knows how this works. You are urged to contact Teresa or Joel for guidance on this. If you are at all tempted to do this–do it!


There is a “flat fee” of $175 to be paid via electronic registration. This covers accommodations, transportation to the island, and dinner on Saturday night as well as access to all programming, CEs (if approved), and some incidental costs. You cannot even book a room in downtown Portland for this rate, let alone a room in a house on an idyllic island with your friends!!  Facilitators from within SMACT are volunteering their time and paying the same fees.  We will apply for CEs for the weekend (~8? CEs).

The SMACT Board agreed to offer two scholarships for the fall retreat starting in 2018 and continuing this year. Recipients will have the $175 fee paid by the SMACT Fund. These are need-based scholarships. Please note that the cost of the event has been kept to a minimum–so if you can afford it, we appreciate your leaving the funds for others. However, if the cost puts you in stress or might even dissuade you from attending, we urge you to apply for one of the scholarships. We want you to attend and your presence and participation will be plenty contribution! And we are eager to use these funds for such a good purpose. If interested, please email me and Teresa on the same message and we will interact with the larger Board to coordinate this.


Friday Sept 20

  • ~4 pm     Water taxis depart from Bug Light Park in South Portland
  • ~5-7 pm   Arrival, check-in, dinner (on your own), opening of the circle
  • ~7-9 pm   First Offering
  • Go to bed/hike to cliffs and enjoy the stars/Candle Hour

Saturday Sept 21

  • Morning run/hike around the island (probable) and/or sleep-in, do yoga
  • Saturday morning: Second Offering
  • Time to relax, connect, self-care, informal activities
  • Saturday afternoon: Third Offering
  • Time to relax, connect, self-care, informal activities
  • Community Dinner/Lobster Bake
  • Evening activity for the community

Sunday Sept 22

  • Hike around the island and/or sleep-in, do yoga
  • Time to relax, connect, self-care, informal activities
  • Fourth Offering
  • Closing of the circle
  • Clean up and depart
  • ~ 3 pm   Water taxis depart the island

Cushing is a beautiful small private island in Casco Bay, a 20 minute ferry ride from the Old Port in Portland. The island has lots of walking trails, 3 public clay tennis courts, multiple beaches, beautiful cliffs and easy access to Portland by small ferry. There are old fort ruins to explore. More than half of the island is conservation land, with great places to walk and explore.




The house was the hospital for the soldiers when this was a fort in WWII. It is a huge 3 story building that sleeps 17 people with lots of room to be alone. There is room for 5 more in an additional house if needed.  Rooms are simple, cheerful and comfortable; all linens are provided. We’ll figure out room assignments when we get the list of attendees. There is a washer and dryer and plenty of beach towels available. There are 3 full baths (one on each floor), all linens and towels provided, large kitchen and large dining room, wrap-around porches, huge game room with a pool table (used to be the ward in the hospital), kids’ play room, two refrigerators, coffee pot, toaster oven, microwave, gas grill. There is wireless internet and local phone service. No television, ‘cause Andy Griffith didn’t need no TV to have a good time. The big events are the ferry arrivals.

front porch


dining room

Please bring your own food for dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch Saturday and Sunday
. There is a full kitchen with 2 refrigerators available, so cooking your food is easy. We will provide dinner Saturday night – lobster, chicken, veggies, salad, dessert. Please note that there is no store on the island.



photo (14)

Be casual. This is a rustic place, so shorts, tee shirts, good walking shoes and jeans are best. The water might be cold – but bring your bathing suit anyway! And fleece is always a good idea.  The weather on the island is often chilly– and we are meeting two weeks later than usual. Other smart items to bring include: a yoga mat (if possible) and a flashlight, headlamp.

Group transport on Friday evening 4:00 PM and Sunday afternoon 3:00PM is provided in the cost of the retreat. We will leave from South Portland Bug Light boat launch and the parking is free.

If you are arranging your own transportation, Water Taxis are also available. Call Presumpscot Water Taxi 897-2562 or Island Water Taxi 799-1818. The rates are usually $45-50 per trip.

Presenters need to move quickly to get Teresa and the SMACT Fall Retreat Planning Committee a simple summary of the workshop including title, objective, and needed materials.  Everything must be submitted by end of August so we can submit applications for CEs.  Please do not stress about this! Just get us a rough draft and we can help massage it into its necessary form. You can review the workshop checklist and an example in the document below.

  • offering checklist and sample
    (clicking link will probably download the file into the Downloads folder on your computer).
  • sample schedule from 2015. (Please note that this sample schedule from 2015 included numerous offerings and about 12-13 CEs.  2019 will include four offerings and approximately 8 CEs, so is a substantially lighter schedule, as requested).

Please contact Teresa Valliere for more details 207-233-9276 or