‘Summer Camp’ for Women Offers Chance to Rise

Participants from a past Rise Gatherings retreat | Photos provided

Beyoncé yoga.

Rewire for Body Confidence.


Has Beyoncé yoga been mentioned?

These are a few of the 20 or so workshops that will be offered at this weekend’s Rise Gatherings, an annual weekend retreat for women in the Philadelphia area and the brainchild of Rachel Rubin and Tami Astorino.

“What brought Rachel and I together is we both had a similar vision for creating an experience where Philadelphia-area women could go to nourish their whole selves, mind, body and spirit,” Astorino said. “And we had different backgrounds and life experiences that gave us the skills that complement each other to co-create day and weekend retreat experiences for women, exclusively for women.”

The weekend retreats, of which this is second year, take place in the Poconos while the day retreats occur throughout the year and offer fitness and lifestyle workshops.

When developing the inaugural retreat, which included the help of a third co-founder, Alexa Rosenthal, the goal was to offer women the chance to unplug, no matter where they are in their lives.

“We both desire to create space for women of all ages and stages of their lives,” Rubin said. “Teenagers to women in their 70s attend the experience together, which is a very unique part of what Rise is.”

Setting the retreat in the Poconos was also no accident.

“It’s the women’s time to go to overnight camp as an adult,” said Rubin, who went to Camp Canadensis growing up, “and experience the growth and play that happens at an overnight camp.”

However, she noted, the retreat aspect isn’t the only key piece of Rise Gatherings.

“It was really about it being a space where women gather, and what happens when women come together and shed layers of their daily life,” she said.

While it’s not a Jewish event, Rubin and Astorino, who are both Jewish, noted the event

Rachel Rubin (left) and Tami Astorino

has certain Jewish ties.

“It does tap into the ancient feminine practice of gathering and supporting one another, which dates back thousands of years,” said Astorino, who worked with Moving Traditions’ Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! program for 10 years.

“For me, my lens on life is very much influenced by my Jewish upbringing, and while this is not a Jewish event,” she continued, “I bring my love for ritual, learning and repairing the world to this endeavor.”

The workshops are facilitated by female leaders in their fields, such as Tina Wells, founder and CEO of Buzz Marketing Group, who will lead “Launching & Growing Your Business, Your Way”; Deborah Meyer, founder and CEO of Moving Traditions, who will facilitate “Rising to Inhabit Your Power”; Stacy Michelle, a sex coach and speaker, who will lead “Awaken Your Pleasure Potential: Keys to Sensational Sex” (with tips you won’t find in Cosmo, the program notes); and many more.

“These expand on what is offered at a studio in your neighborhood; these are immersive experiences that women can only get at Rise,” Rubin noted.

There will also be workouts including yoga sessions, dance classes, kettlebell courses (which Rubin teaches based on the Kettlebell Kundalini workout she created) in addition to sessions of acupuncture and psychic readings.

“It was part of our vision from the start to want to bring together thought leaders and experience creators so that women could design the weekend of their dreams to level up their health and well-being,” Astorino said.

The notion of leveling up their experience was a key piece in developing the retreat.

Calling it Rise signified the effect they hope — and have seen — the retreat has on the women who participate.

Its name came to Rubin almost like a dream, she laughed.

“In the creative development process, I swear it came through me. I was like, ‘This word just keeps coming — rise — I don’t know if that’s what we can call something,’” she recalled with a laugh. “We realized how Rise was not just a word, but it was really what the movement was. It is what’s happening for women when they choose to come to a Rise retreat.”

“Women rising, women raising their voices and spirits, raising each other up, that’s what the Rise Gathering experience is,” Astorino added, “raising their spirits and raising each other up by investing in themselves and connecting with themselves and with each other.”

For them, the purpose of the work they do has only been underlined by the renewed focus on women’s experiences in all forms with the spotlight from movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up.

While the retreat experience existed before the rise — no pun intended — of these movements, it highlights the focus on what women go through in life.

“We feel even more affirmed and fueled to do this work because of the increased attention on issues that face women,” Astorino noted.

The Rise Gatherings are a space for women to share their experiences and stories, Rubin added — and find a place for fun and enjoyment.

“Our day and weekend retreats are for all women who want to empower themselves to lead their most optimal and authentic life,” Astorino said.

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  1. I appauld you Rachel Rubin for what you are doing in your organization of Rise Gatherings for Women. It also gave me chills when I read about how you came up with the name for the company. Let women “Rise” up and be heard and have a voice in this world. Amen.


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