The Perlstein Retreat Center, located in Lake Delton offered a peaceful environment for families with missing loved ones to gather for The 2nd Annual Wisconsin Families of the Missing Retreat. The retreat center is located on 20 acres of wooded land, offering a beautiful backdrop for families to relax, walk the trails, and take in the sights and sounds of nature.
Three sessions were presented over the course of the weekend offering a wealth of knowledge for the families in attendance.
Duane Bowers, a licensed professional counselor, who provides training for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Federal Office for Victims of Crime, spent Saturday morning talking with families about crisis, trauma and ambiguous loss. Duane gave the families strategies to help work through the various stages of trauma, and offered helpful ways to cope with unresolved loss.
Michelle DuBois from the Wisconsin Missing Persons Clearinghouse talked about Working with law enforcement. She provided helpful advice about maintaining our relationships with law enforcement and reassured us that we are never alone.
Anne Schwartz, is a communications executive with more than 30 years of experience in working with the media. She provided families with information on how to keep their missing loved ones in the public eye, through news media and social media.
Outside of the sessions, families connected during meals and evening free time- sharing stories, tears, and even laughter. The time frame of missing loved ones ranged from one year to forty seven years. Each of our stories were different, however, sharing the struggles and the pain of having a missing loved one was invaluable.
Many of us walked into this retreat as strangers, but we left as friends.
If you have a missing loved one, I would encourage you to consider attending this retreat in the future. There is a freedom among others who understand your pain and experiences without judgement.
For more information on upcoming Retreats:
Watch these pages:
Retreat sponsors Included:
The Department of Justice- Wisconsin Missing Persons Clearinghouse
and Wisconsin Missing Persons Advocacy, Inc.