Volunteer at a non-profit spiritual retreat center on Orcas Island, Washington, USA


United States

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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Please note: We will begin taking workawayers in April of 2022, as that is when our programs start back up.

    We are a non-profit retreat center located on Orcas Island, Washington set on 78 acres a mile south of the local village of Eastsound. The grounds include a Dining Hall, around 30 plumbing and non-plumbing cabins, a library, a large orchard and meadow area, a garden, ¾ mile of ocean shoreline, two beaches, preserved forested areas and hiking trails.

    Our retreat center is both a sanctuary and a dynamic community engaged in an ongoing experiment in theosophical living and study. We honor and work with nature, and aspire to live according to the principles of altruism, peaceful engagement with the world (ahimsa), tolerance, conscious simplicity, love, and the pursuit of truth. Our center was founded in 1927 by alternative-minded and spiritually-focused individuals looking for a safe place to explore the nature of the universe and our place within it, and this vision continues to this day.

    Our center is founded on many different principles, including; investigating the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity; nurturing personal and spiritual growth, healing, and creativity, operating with shared labor and volunteerism whenever possible, emphasizing multigenerational activities and programs, expressing tolerance of differing perspectives and spiritual paths, encouraging an attitude of ahimsa (harmlessness) through all aspects of daily living, including vegetarianism, following a path of active environmentalism and sustainable practice, and much more.

    Volunteerism is a pillar of our values here. Part of the experience of staying here, for guests and work-traders alike, is to offer our hands and hearts into the continuing creation and maintenance of this sacred place. As a work-trader participant (volunteer) you will be a major part of a team that is dedicated to supporting the smooth functioning of this much-loved retreat center.

    If you are interested in coming, we ask that you fill out our fellowship application and meet with us for a phone interview before arrival.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Living on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands is a huge adventure! You have the amazing opportunity to participate in all of our programs (work trade schedule permitting), which include various meditation, yoga, therapeutic touch, singing, service week workshops, etc. You will learn how this retreat center operates, and can be involved with many of the tasks associated with that process. You will have the opportunity to meet many new and different people, and to be on this magical piece of land on an incredible island in the Salish Sea! Orcas Island can be a place of powerful growth and deep beauty.

  • Help


    We offer workshops and programs starting in April until the beginning of October, and this is when we really need support from workawayers. Fellowship participants are encouraged to take part in the many programs and offerings we have. This helps to create a feeling of community, equality and interconnectedness between everyone on the land. Tasks for workawayers include assisting in the kitchen, helping in the garden, cleaning cabins after programs, trail maintenance, and assisting with ongoing and ever-changing facilities projects on the property. In the Fall we have work parties where we harvest and process plums and apples as well. No special skills required, just a dedication to doing your best, the practice of honest and compassionate communication, and a desire to connect with the community in a good and meaningful way.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    You will be staying in a private small non-plumbing cabin with a shared bathhouse. You will have access to three meals a day during programs. Outside of program times, workawayers can eat leftovers or make your own food from the kitchen inventory.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Our center is a place of peace and respect of all creatures. Daily life at here is guided by a set of values that have helped to preserve this place as a sanctuary to many since its founding in 1927. Everyone is expected to abide by these guidelines, which prohibit the following: Alcohol, non-prescription drugs (including marijuana), food products containing meat, fish, or fowl, firearms, candles/incense, smoking (including vaping), and pets. Please respect our quiet hours as an opportunity to better hear the sounds of nature around us and within us.

    Orcas Island has many natural places to explore such as Moran State Park and Turtleback Mountain Preserve. Eastsound is an adorable little town just a mile away with several restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, artisan galleries, a bookstore, as well as a more traditional grocery store and a food co-op. Down the road from our center is The Exchange, a pretty awesome thrift store situated at the entrance of our local dump (sometimes you can barter for the price you want!). In the summer you can walk down to the cove and play in the out-of-this-world bioluminescence in the ocean. There are also many other islands you can visit during your time here, such as Lopez, Friday Harbor, Shaw, and even Sucia (the entirety of this island has been preserved as a state park).

    There are many ways to get around the islands. Though a bit more difficult during COVID times, traditionally it has been quite easy to hitch-hike, but there are also taxis available to hire. Ferries between islands are free for walk-ons and people on bikes.

    Transport from the Seattle Airport is sparse but definitely possible. There is a shuttle that goes to the Anacortes ferry terminal several times a day, and several connecting bus routes from the train station in Skagit Valley.

    Orcas Island is an incredibly beautiful place with its own spirit and magic. We look forward to finding the perfect people to join us in supporting this very special place!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 876436296819