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Project Jason Keys to Healing Retreat, March 19-21, 2017

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The Project Jason Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the 8th annual Keys to Healing Retreat will take place on March 19-21, 2017 at the Wonder Valley Ranch Resort and Conference Center in Sanger, CA.


(Registration Opening Soon!)


Project Jason's Keys to Healing: Mind, Body, and Spirit ~ Wonder Valley Ranch Resort and Conference Center, Sanger, CA, March 19-21, 2017
Why Attend a Retreat?
When someone you love disappears, you're not handed a manual and given clear cut instructions on what to do and how to do it. Finding qualified help in the midst of what is likely the most traumatic event in your life seems like an impossible task, and especially to seek this help in tandem with the search for the missing loved one. You may find help with the search and investigation, but when the door closes at night, friends have gone home, and you still don't have the answers, you're now alone to attempt to make sense of a senseless event.

It's not making sense, though, and you wonder if the way you're feeling is normal. You question your own sanity as you deal with symptoms such as inability to sleep and memory issues. You may experience a roller coaster of emotions such as guilt, fear, anger, anxiety, and just plain numbness. No one truly understands, and you doubt your ability to go on. You want the nightmare to end, but another day begins in the same way. Is there help for you in your unique and life-altering situation?

The professionally trained staff at Project Jason know the difficulties we face in this situation. We know the emotions and the frustrations. None of us knows how long this journey will last, so it's important that we do all that we do what we can to keep ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually strong for the day we have our answers. These are the Keys to Healing, the keys to help you face each day without your missing loved one.

Your well-being is the most important element in what we do: support. The Keys to Healing retreat, and all it offers, is the best life training offered anywhere for persons living with the ambiguous loss of a child or adult loved one. In addition to the training sessions, you'll meet with other families who know and understand how you feel. You'll be in a safe and private environment that nurtures your mind, body, and spirit and gives you the tools to move forward in a manner healthy for you, while continuing in the search for your loved one.


You will find peace and camaraderie at the Keys to Healing Retreat.

Sessions will be conducted by professional instructors, including a licensed counselor. As the Keys to Healing Retreat is for healing the mind, body, and spirit, past retreats have featured massage therapists, personal trainers and nutritionists, demonstrations of anti-stress techniques, and spiritual advisers. The 2017 weekend will treat attendees to professionals with similar unique mind, body, and spirit specialties.
What can I expect?
During classes, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in interactive discussions on key issues that impact quality of life for families of the missing. These classes are not lectures, and give all attendees time to share and receive professional guidance and suggestions as they feel comfortable. Breaks and mealtimes give attendees ample opportunity to get to know each other, this interaction being a key aspect of the value of an in-person retreat.
Rooms are comfortable and private hotel-style with private bathrooms to give attendees time to rest, reflect, and absorb at their own rate.
All meals, snacks, and materials are included in the fee.
Your privacy is respected and honored. Classes are not recorded and attendees give permission for personal photos to be published.
About the Lead Instructor:

Our lead instructor is Duane Bowers, LPC. We believe, and past attendees agree, that Duane is the most knowledgeable counselor in the country in respect to understanding the unique emotional issues families of missing persons encounter. Among his many services to families dealing with grief is providing support to families of abducted, missing, exploited and murdered children through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and to families of missing persons of any age through Project Jason's Healing Harbor. Bowers is the author of "Guiding Your Family Through Loss and Grief" and "A Child is Missing: Providing Support for Families of Missing Children."
About the Location:
Wonder Valley Ranch Resort and Conference Center’s central CA location is approximately 4 hours from LA, 4 hours from San Francisco, and 6 from San Diego. There are so many missing in CA and we will hopefully have the opportunity to serve these new families with the 2017 location. There are FREE activities including boating on the lake, pool, horseshoes, ping-pong, tennis, volleyball, a swimming pool, and more. The average temps at that time of year range from a low of 48 to a high of 69, although it can get into the 70s. The center is barely an hour away from 2 National Parks, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia, and Yosemite is just a little over 3 hours away. For those who are able to attend, we encourage you to plan a mini-vacation in the area if possible for you.
Come to a place where everyone understands without having to explain a thing, and often, words are not needed.

Honor your missing loved one at a special and moving ceremony
Eligibility: The retreat is open to immediate family members (spouse, biological parent(s), legal guardians, adult siblings, adult children and the spouses of all mentioned) of still missing persons whose cases are listed with law enforcement agencies in North America and who have registered with us for services. The attendee needs to be age 18 or older.

Note: If you have not registered your missing loved one for services with us, you must do that prior to registering for the retreat and then obtain verification of eligibility from us. To register a missing loved one:

To register for the retreat:

Watch this webinar to gain a better understanding of the retreat:

Have questions? Ask us at

I have been blessed during the fifteen years since Jason's disappearance to have had a good support system, faith for the journey, and training to gain an understand of what is happening inside me and how to handle a variety of situations as they come along. I have learned to laugh again and experience joy, while at the same time keeping the search for my son active. I could not possibly box up what I learned and send it to you, but I can give it to you in the Keys to Healing retreat.

So, this is my gift to you from me and Project Jason. I hope you'll be able be able to join us.

Kelly Murphy, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder,
Project Jason

All missing persons are loved by someone, and their families deserve to find the answers they seek in regards to the disappearance.

Group photos from past retreats:

Project Jason Keys to Healing 2016
2014 Group Photo not available to respect privacy of attendees who did not wish photos made public.

Project Jason Keys to Healing 2013
Project Jason Keys to Healing Retreat 2012
Project Jason Keys to Healing Retreat 2011


As you can see by watching the faces in this video, the 2009 retreat was a success. Now we need the public's help to provide this service to more families.

Keys to Healing video filmed by Christina Fontana, director of "Project Jason, A Voice for the Missing".

Click on the photo above to view a photo slideshow from the 2010 retreat


Information and Class Descriptions from the 2016 retreat:

Information and Class Descriptions from the 2014 retreat:

Information and Class Descriptions from the 2013 retreat:

Information and Class Descriptions from the 2012 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2011 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2010 retreat:

Information and class descriptions from the 2009 retreat:

If you haven't registered your missing loved one for services, click here:

Have questions? Ask us at

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Pricing for 2017

Payment Plans

Project Jason is offering monthly and convenient payment plans for attendees. (See registration form for details)

Pricing for the Project Jason Keys to Healing 2017 Retreat

The pricing is done on a per person per room basis, as that is how we are charged by the retreat center. As the center has a limited number of rooms, we encourage attendees to share a room if possible so that we can keep the retreat open for as many families as possible. The prices are in bold below.


1 person in a room: $250
2 people in a room: $375 =$187.50 each
3 people in a room: $450 =$150.00 each
4 people in a room: $525 =$131.25 each
Day Attendee: $50.00 per day (A Day Attendee is a person who is attending the retreat, but not staying overnight.)

What the Retreat fee covers: Your retreat fees cover transportation to and from the Fresno airport or an airport hotel, your room at the retreat center, all classes, talks, related activities, snacks, beverages, and meals.

Note for those making flight arrangements: The retreat begins Sunday afternoon at approximately 4:00pm and ends Tuesday at approximately 1:30pm. The Fresno airport is about a 30-40 minute drive from the retreat center. Given the need to arrive at the airport one hour prior to your flight, the suggested outgoing flight time for Tuesday is 3pm or after.

For your incoming flight the best time frames for arrival are 11:30am through no later than 2pm. These times may not work for you and are suggestions to get the most of time with us, and not miss one precious moment. We can check in on Sunday, beginning at two, (rooms may not be ready yet) and must be out of the facility by 2pm on Tuesday. (Check out time on Tuesday is 11pm. Attendees can leave their luggage in the meeting room safely at that time.)

The retreat center cannot act as a hotel, so attendees who may need to fly in the day before or depart the day after will need to make their own arrangements at a hotel near the airport if they would like transportation to/from the center.

For attendees driving in

If you're driving to the center, we suggest arriving on Sunday at around 2pm. This gives you time to explore the grounds, meet other attendees, set up your missing loved one's display, and get settled in your room as soon as it's available.

On Tuesday, the retreat ends at 1:30.

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For persons who want to attend, but have financial hardship:


Research the cost of the flight and any related costs, such as parking, baggage fees, etc.


Consider starting a Go Fund Me page to raise the above costs, plus your retreat fee. Go Fund Me is free to use. They take a small portion of the donations as a handling fee.


Also, the Denise A. Harrison Memorial Scholarship will be in place for qualified attendees to apply for, which would cover the fee of those selected. More information on the 2017 scholarships will be made available soon.

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Wish List and Needs for the 2017 Retreat

Corporate sponsors from family-friendly companies

Private donors (not to include families of missing persons)

Our ultimate goal is to offer the retreat for free to families of the missing. The more donations we receive, the closer we can come to reaching that goal.

Local printing done for retreat handbooks and vigil program  (Fresno, CA)

White or black  1" binders with clear display cover  on front and back for inserts, one for each attendee and staff members

Donation of an oversize passenger van rental OR local transportation company to transport attendees from the airport to the retreat center and back

One single wrapped rose for each attendee family

One quality 8.5 x 11 clear slanted acrylic photo frame for each represented family for tribute posters

This style preferred:

10 boxes of good quality facial tissue  

Pens, markers, and clip-on name badges sets

Sheet cake with Keys to Healing logo (serves around 40)

Licensed manicurist for free manicures and/or pedicures
2 licensed massage therapists to provide free chair massages onsite

Licensed professional to give free facials

T-shirts with the Keys logo imprinted, one for each attendee and volunteer staff

Pins with the logo or other small memento type gifts

Donation of frequent flyer miles

Items for "Pamper Me" gift bags, such as trial size shampoos, body and foot lotions, mini scented candles, mints, gum, chocolates, facials, body wash or scented spray, bath sponges, and any other small size items which represent personal comfort.

One of each gift for is needed for each attendee. Example: If we have 35 attendees, we would need 35 of each donated item.  

Gift bags, one for each attendee (for the "Pamper Me" bags noted above)

 Adult Coloring Books and colored pencils, one set for each attendee

Product donations or mailed monetary donations can be sent to Project Jason, PO Box 59054,Renton WA 98058

Online donations can be made at

If you'd like more information, or to discuss a corporate sponsorship, please email

Thank you for your support!

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Here are the descriptions for the core classes at the 2017 Keys to Healing retreat:

Lifecycle of our Unique Trauma

This interactive class covers the lifecycle of the trauma experienced by families of missing persons. From the initial point of trauma, the reaction of the brain and body, to post-traumatic growth, ambiguous loss and its effects on our life and well-being are covered. Numerous exercises for stress relief and coping skills are covered.

Life With Ambiguous Loss

Life is forever changed when a loved one disappears. In this class, we'll discuss key impacts, which include changed relationships and male and female reaction to trauma. In addition, the transition to the invidual's "new normal" and practical how-to's on achieving a healthy balance with time for the search and time for family, self, and spiritualism.

Life With and Without an Answer

Family members of missing persons frequently wonder when or if they will get an answers in respect to the fate of their loved one. This class attempts to answer the question "How will I go on?", but also covers the various types of answers that may come, and offers tips for coping strategies based upon the outcome. The switch from the active search to a new journey is discussed.

Life After the Retreat

Retreat attendees participate in this class designed to ensure that when they return home, they are better prepared to handle stressful or frustrating situations. Attendees are provided with tools to aid with retention and increase their ability to utlize all of the presented information, resulting in a increased quality of life.

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Project Jason presents the Keys to Healing retreat webinar.




This webinar provides families of missing persons interested in attending the annual retreat an idea of the type of information presented there, It covers 6 Key Benefits gained by attending the retreat.


These Key Benefits include:


  • Understanding the effects of trauma on the brain and body
  • Understanding the core emotions that impact families of missing persons
  • Understanding changed relationships
  • Answering the big question: How do I live in the "not knowing"?
  • The importance of nourishment of the mind, body, and spirit while living with ambiguous loss
  • Why meeting and being with others experiencing the same trauma is highly beneficial

Family members of missing persons who are unable to attend the retreat are encouraged to watch as this webinar provides an invaluable core understanding of living with ambiguous loss.


Special guests, family members of missing persons, Don Ross, and Maureen Reintjes, provide feedback about the benefits of attending the retreat. Both are 5 year attendees.


Duane Bowers, core instructor at the retreat, offers valuable information about the 6 key benefits for family members attending. Kelly Murphy, President and Founder of Project Jason, presents.


Watch the presentation here:


Learn more about Don Ross' missing son, Jesse:


Learn more about Kelly Murphy's missing son, Jason:


Learn more about Duane Bowers:


More about the Keys to Healing Retreat:


About Project Jason

Project Jason, founded in 2003, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting families of missing persons. The organization offers tactical guidance, emotional support, and hope for families continuing their searches for answers.


The families working with Project Jason benefit from increased public awareness of their missing loved ones through a variety of outreach and educational activities. The families are also guided toward existing resources available to help with their efforts.

Project Jason is based in Renton, Washington.

For more information about Project Jason’s objectives, activities and services, go to

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What Attendees Have to Say


"My first retreat was a great learning experience. Duane was an incredible speaker and teacher. I learned  how our body works under stress and was provided with the tools to help with that.


This retreat has giving me courage; courage to embrace and express my feelings about my missing sister. I was accepted into a group of people with missing loved ones who can relate to what I have been through.  This retreat made me feel normal, accepted, and understood. I know I will have some bad days, but I know how I can and will get through them. 


Attending The Project Jason Retreat in 2016 was an amazing experience. This is a place of love, compassion, generosity, and empathy. I was blown away by all of the detailed organization of the entire retreat including the gifts, lessons with Duane, the guest speaker, the vigil, the massages, the beautiful cake, and the “worry pebble”, to the “everything marble”.  This retreat was everything and more than I could imagine. It was a great investment for me and my family."


Ronica Paltauf , Sister of Missing Roxanne Paltauf

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Eligibility: The retreat is open to immediate family members (spouse, biological parent(s), legal guardians, adult siblings, adult children and the spouses of all mentioned) of still missing persons whose cases are listed with law enforcement agencies in North America and who have registered with us for services. The attendee needs to be age 18 or older.

Note: If you have not registered your missing loved one for services with us, you must do that prior to registering for the retreat and then obtain verification of eligibility from us. To register a missing loved one:

Registration for 2017 is open now:


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