Next programme: 28th May – 2nd June 2017

“We are one generation away from Heaven on Earth … We need to raise a new generation of human beings who are not disconnected, who are not traumatised.” Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, 2013 (Birth Into Being)

“Support for parents must be the cornerstone of any community that wants to preserve and increase human potential” Patty Wipfler, 2016 (Parenting by Connection)

Grow the Grown Ups” is a unique week on our beautiful land for adults with young children to participate in a facilitated twin trail programme with their families.

On this programme, parenting is the focus and stimulus for both the outer and the inner trails.

Parenting is an opportunity for effective realistic direct action towards creating the world of our longing.  The challenges, which inevitably come up in the journey of parenthood, point to areas ripe for the parents’ inner growth.
We take the perspective that parenting is an honour, a privilege, and at the same time a challenge, and an invitation to grow.

Having dependent children is an intense experience: we’re in relationship 24/7 with someone who needs us, initially for their survival.  Not only that, but as they grow, they need to define themselves and – to some degree – gradually leave us behind.

Aspects of us that have not yet matured, where we are not ready or don’t know how to be responsible, practically or emotionally, will show up in us in the relentlessness of being there for our child, often un-thanked.  We will find ourselves triggered by our children’s immature behaviours, and despite our best efforts to parent consciously we will most likely hear ourselves repeating unhelpful actions and phrases that adults around us used when we were children.

Children are very accurate mirrors.  Even those of us who are not in any kind of parenting crisis can benefit from support to understand how to navigate family life – how to find the balance between everyone’s needs, and how to skillfully grow up our residual immature parts and mature as adults, so that we can parent our children from a wise responsible adult place.  When we are reactive towards our children, there is always something for us to face in ourselves.

This is brave and courageous work and the rewards are rich.

“Grow the Grown Ups” gives parents practical and emotional support to do this brave work.  We take away the daily tasks of shopping, cooking, driving, entertaining, earning, emailing etc for a week so that parents can give themselves, each other and their children some quality attention in a simple, natural environment.

Book Your Place

28th May - 2nd June 2017 Grow the Grown Ups May 2017 Sold Out

If you have any questions or difficulties with your booking please call us on +44 (0) 1647 252 983

What to Expect

Each morning simple activities (gardening, crafts, music) are shared, in small family groups, with others. Each afternoon adults come together while children have a great time (with our Creche and Play Teams nearby), to discuss, listen, learn, share and re-focus on what really matters.

We do not tell you how to parent your child: we see this very much as your lifestyle choice.  We draw on the Parenting by Connection model, and introduce and practise 2 of the tools during the week: Special Time and Listening Partnerships. For more information about these, please follow this link

The proverb works both ways: “It takes a village to raise a child.” And “It takes a child to raise a village”

Children who are raised with consciousness and love, who are allowed their feelings and thoughts, who are given helpful loving limits and guidance in how to socialise, are a resource to our communities. They trust their intuition and their hearts as well as their minds.  They expect to love and be loved.  They intuitively know when something is out of integrity.  These children will be ready to step up as our next leaders to steer our world back on track where it has become imbalanced.

When we are able to witness a child’s natural confidence of being, and listen to the unlimited thinking of their mind, when we can open ourselves to share their moments of delight in simple things, and to hear their emotional pain when hearts close, adults can be touched, restored and brought back into alignment with our essential trusting, creative nature.


Programme Director and Lead Facilitator – Joanna Watters

Staff Team Leader  – Tim Hall

Host Leader – Fiona Barnes

Creche Leader – Helen Bourne

Play Team Leader – Stephan Pfaff

Craft Leader – Miriam Rose

Moving Sound Leader – Christoffer de Graal

Parenting by Connection Advisor – Anna Cole

Plus staff and volunteers from Embercombe.

Photo on postcard courtesy of Rachel Mowitz

Read what previous participants had to say:

Without doubt, the best bit was the sense of connection – to my family, to my inner life, to some of the fundamental pinch points within our family and also within myself, to some of the other participants, to the sacrificial work of all of those running and supporting the camp (particularly the volunteers and Tim), to the land. I found that nearly all of the camp worked towards improving the sense of connection. Special time was fabulous, and the focus that it felt was on the children during that time. Each evening, we sat at the campfire. Just before bed every night, Tim came round as part of checking the whole camp. I felt a real sense of being watched over and cared for, from this. The food and the practicalities of the camp were great. The volunteers and staff could not have done more for us. The only reason I was at Embercombe was because my wife had said she wanted to go. I wouldn’t have ever thought of or wanted to go. We arrived at the camp and I had given no thought to it, other than the practicalities of getting there. My intention was to endure whatever she had dragged me to. Even once I had managed to settle in to the camp, and to move from enduring to actually wanting to be there, I still did not expect to find such a deep insight as during the “you are welcome” exercise. I am slowly working my way through the layers of this, and trying to alter my family relationships particularly with my son. It isn’t easy but it also won’t go away (except sometimes in the heat of the moment). Without wanting to settle for second best, I am also trying to accept “good enough” particularly based on the resources available to me. Thinking that about my own parents is certainly very helpful for me to understand them and to accept some of the ways in which they parented me. I found Joanna’s leadership of the camp to be very gentle and surprisingly effective and insightful. In focused sessions, she seemed to touch lots of us in very different ways and to provide a way in which we could approach different things and move forward with them. The parenting sessions felt extremely safe to me. If I had not felt safe from the very beginning, I do not think that I would have experienced such deep insights. I am not sure how Joanna created that environment of safety, however it was extremely profound and effective. Quite apart from parenting learning, I started a lot of thinking about my lost spirituality, balance in life and connection to food and nature, and the purpose and spirit of my business. Provided that I can discipline my approach to work, the implications of these can be significant to my life. We are talking about whether to return next year. If we are able to, I will not be a reluctant attendee. Far from it, I very much want to be back at family camp. So, thank you for all of your work, energy, effort, learning, insight and love for parents and children.
Father with partner and 3 children


Need More Information?