Your own sleeping bag, pillows, etc. (mattress on bunks will be provided)
Cash: Coffee mugs sold separately (and poker!)
Bring toiletries, towels, anything you need to be comfortable
Dress warmly (and casually), this is camp-style housing in the fall in Alaska
Dietary needs? Call Jeff @ 907-631-9519
Like a majority of events in recovery, the Northern Frontier Men’s Retreat found its beginnings with a resentment.
In 2004, the wife of one of the founders had organized a women’s retreat during the same weekend as her husband’s. Not to be out done, he contacted his sponsor and the Northern Frontier Men’s Retreat was born with the theme “In All of Our Affairs.”
Gerry S., Scott B., Bryan B. and Dwayne T. were our first energetic AA speakers that year and gave talks about sponsorship, recovery and service at the Church of the Nazarene in Palmer. There were a whopping 10 attendants.
After that first retreat weekend, it was obvious that the women’s event, which had had more than two dozen attendants, was more successful. So, in November of 2005, the men gathered their forces, secured Kings Lake Camp in Wasilla, and changed the retreat theme to “The Spiritual Life is Not a Theory, We Have to Live It.”
That official first retreat in 2005 saw 35 attendees enjoying speaker meetings and workshops from Dave B. of Oklahoma, Andrew I. from Anchorage and Gerry S. from Arkansas.
Games such as Hold-Em Poker, ping-pong, horse shoes, cribbage and darts were also introduced during the first retreat and are popular main-stays today.
The Northern Frontier Men’s Retreat remained at King’s Lake for the next several years with speakers from around the country.
In 2006, Nobe D. from Arkansas, Brad Z. from Wasilla and Gerry S. showed us the way. In 2007, Steve M. from North Carolina and Matt W. from Anchorage were featured, with again Gerry S., was our Sunday morning speaker. In 2008, Meyer R. and Ron C. entertained us with their tales of sobriety.
In 2009, the men’s retreat was presented with an opportunity to reduce costs and the decision was made to move its annual retreat from King’s Lake Camp to Birchwood Camp, the halfway point between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. The retreat also was moved to early September so that the men could enjoy warmer conditions and partake in outdoor sports, such as softball. Tom I. from North Carolina and Rick H. from Talkeetna shared their experience, strength and hope that year. In 2010, Ken D. from California, Ray N. from Palmer and Gary K. from Texas brought us their message of hope and recovery. Sadly, Gerry S. was unable to make it that year due to a back surgery that prevented him from traveling, but the following year, he was back at the retreat.
The remaining years speaker rosters had been as follows:
2011: Peter M. from CA, Gerry S. from AR, and Scott W. from Eagle River.
2012: Doug R. from CA, Gerry S. from AR, Mike (Reddog) R. from AK.
2013: Bob D. from NV, Gerry S. from AR, Will R. from AK.
2014: Bill C. from CA, Gerry S. from AR, Bryan B. from AK.
2015: Don L. from WA, Gerry S. from AR, Bobby W. from AK.
2016: Matthew M. from WA, Gerry S. from AR, David B. from AK.
2017: Conley Byrd from AR, Gerry S. from AR, Matthew B. from AK.
2018: Joe C. from CA, Kurt B. from AK, and Larry W. from AK.
Today, the Northern Frontier Men’s Retreat has grown to roughly 60 annual attendants from all over Alaska and the U.S., including Anchorage, Palmer, Soldotna, Wasilla, Wrangell, Kenai, and Juneau, as well as our Southern friends from Fort Smith and Mena, Arkansas. Understanding the importance of reaching out to the newcomer in recovery, every retreat has seen a rise in scholarship contributions that has allowed new guys to hear the message of hope, recovery and experience the fellowship like never before.
Here’s to another great men’s retreat in 2019!