Merrowvista

Group Retreats

Year round reflection & community building.

We believe that reflection and intentional action are key components to a balanced life. Our retreats provide a space for communities to focus on the values and beliefs that drive their culture and the ways that they can act upon them.

Experiential activities are the cornerstone of our group development. Our Group Retreats may utilize Merrowvista’s forests, wetlands, mountains, and lakes, along with ropes courses to inspire reflection and conversation. Offering both individual and team challenges, our programs allow people to build personal and professional relationships while connecting with the wider world.

Our staff welcomes the opportunity to work with your group to create a program designed to meet your specific goals.

Additional Information: Learn more through our FAQs, meet our staff or review parent & program contact resources.



A Day in the Life

Merrowvista Community and School Programs

These programs serve hundreds of youth, educators and youth advocates through programs designed to enhance not only a participant’s skills, but their confidence in themselves and their future.

Merrowvista programs help participants develop their character and their connections to the wider world. Our outstanding staff work to create communities where youth feel supported and empowered. Participants discover who they are and what they are capable of achieving.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why invest in a Merrowvista experience?

At Merrowvista, we value the need to address the social issues present in a child’s daily life in order to maximize academic and social learning. Research tells us that when a child feels social anxiety, the brain’s ability to absorb new information in limited. At Merrowvista, we create a learning environment and community where young people feel a sense of belonging, safety and trust. Programs include conversations and strategies to transfer these lessons back to their school and home communities.

How does Merrowvista’s unique setting enhance the program experience?

Merrowvista is situated within a unique ecosystem. Its volcanic mountains and lake, forests, wetlands, streams and meadows provide a rich, bio-diverse environment for students to learn about the world around them. Concepts discussed in class take on new meaning through hands-on exploration. Shared experiences such as making it to the top of a mountain, collaborating to successfully build a raft, or celebrating a discovery at the beaver dam build connections that can reshape the way students work together back at school.

Where do students stay while they are at Merrowvista?

We offer 3-season heated duplex-style cabins, each with beds for up to 16 children and 3 adults. For larger groups or winter programs, we also offer a fully winterized lodge.

How are children supervised while they are at Merrowvista?

Our staff supervises children throughout all structured program activities. Teachers, administrators or chaperones serve as the primary guardians, and are responsible for free time and overnight supervision.

We are committed to a student to Merrowvista staff ratio no higher than 12:1.

What kind of food does Merrowvista serve?

Following our Food Program guiding principles, we aim to serve a variety of healthy options, including a balance of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables incorporated into a child-friendly menu.

What if a student has a food allergy or special dietary need?

We are able to accommodate certain allergies and dietary needs. Merrowvista is a peanut aware facility. We do not serve peanuts or tree nuts from our kitchen during meal service. In addition, we can provide vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options with advance notice. We may ask families to provide certain food items for children with complex allergies or dietary needs. We are committed to making a plan that works for everyone. Please contact us if you have questions about our offerings.”

What qualifications do staff members have?

Our staff members are passionate about their work. Many of them have backgrounds in education, youth development and environmental education. They all hold first aid and CPR certifications, are at least 21 years old and have had background checks run against multiple national and local databases.

How many groups are at Merrowvista at the same time?

We hope Merrowvista feels special to every group we work with. Though there may be some small overlap between communities, we typically reserve our 600 acre site for one group at a time.

What should students pack?

Weather in New Hampshire is quite variable from day to day and season to season. Appropriate clothing and gear will depend on the length of the program, time of year, and scheduled activities. Please refer to the relevant packing list in the ‘Resources’ section of this page for more specific information.

Will my child feel included at Merrowvista?

We enthusiastically welcome children with diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities. We value each participant’s right to fully experience Merrowvista free from prejudice and harassment. All of our staff members are trained to supervise children and to prevent and address incidents of conflict or bullying based on any aspect of a person’s identity, including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation.

Program Staff

Our program staff members come from a variety of backgrounds in education, environmental sciences, and experiential education.

Many of them have grown up with the AYF, others developed their passion for working with young people in the outdoors through other like-minded organizations. But no matter where they started, they all share a commitment to inspiring young people to discover their very best, and look forward to working with your community.


“I attribute a good portion of my professional and personal success to the AYF. The approach to being something more than we currently are has stuck with me through the years, but that flame would not have started without attending Merrowvista programs.”

– Gregory, AYF alumnus