What happens during a retreat?

The primary focus of our retreats is the creation of songs written collaboratively by participants with professional songwriters. When not in songwriting sessions, participants take part in additional creativity workshops (photography, videography, cooking, and more) and relaxation sessions (yoga, reiki, massage). We also value the power of conversation and recreation to keep the creativity fueled and to build lasting connections with fellow participants, staff, and volunteers. Each evening, newly written songs are played for the first time for the entire group. “I thought I was the only one who felt that way” is a frequent comment. On the final afternoon, all songs are performed. They are recorded on-site during the retreat.

How can I volunteer at a retreat?

Our retreats are purposely very small and intimate in order to maximize the “face time / creative time” for each participant. When a location is confirmed, we work with area service providers, past participants, VA centers and facilities to host participants. If you are interested in attending a retreat, please let us know your service history in the additional information field in the interest form. We welcome all active-duty military or veterans to apply!

How do you select the songwriters?

Creative Director Darden Smith curates our network of professional songwriters. He emphasizes a mastery of skills in co-writing songs, an ability to listen deeply, an ease collaborating with others, and a genuine desire to write great songs with veterans.

Can I attend a retreat as a participant?

We welcome all active-duty military or veterans to apply! Please let us know your service history in the additional information field in the interest form.

Can I join SW:S as a songwriter?

We are currently not seeking additional songwriters.

Will you share my songs/poems/stories with your program?

We are happy that so many people are doing creative work in this area. Our program is purely focused on songwriting WITH soldiers, so all of our material is from the soldiers that we work with during the retreats. We encourage all of you who have material to keep sharing it in as many ways as you can — it all adds up to make a difference in many lives. Post them on your Facebook page, contact groups who are in need of material. Share! We will keep putting our material out there as much as we can, too.

What is required to host a retreat?

Retreats are hosted at facilities which can accommodate and sleep 20-30 individuals. The facility must be handicap accessible and within an hour’s drive of a major airport. Hosted retreats must be funded by the organization or individual who is sponsoring or have a funding source identified. If you believe you meet these criteria, please submit an inquiry with these details.

How do I sponsor a SW:S performance?

Sponsoring a SW:S performance is dependent on several factors including funding, dates, venues, and availability of a SW:S songwriter. Please submit an inquiry with all details.

How can I help?

There are many ways to help with the program. First and foremost is to help spread the word about the program and the need to bring it to more veterans. With more exposure, our partnerships and funding will increase. Simple as that. The more funding we have, the more retreats we can hold.

How can I volunteer for SW:S?

If we are hosting a retreat in your area we will add you to our potential volunteer list. Please be specific in the capacity where you have volunteer experience or if you have volunteered or attended a SW:S in the past.

As we grow, opportunities to volunteer will increase. We currently rely on area volunteers near retreat areas and many of our past participants have joined our volunteer team. We are thrilled to provide opportunities for our veterans to stay connected and serve as ambassadors for the program.

Why do we spell SongwritingWith:Soldiers the way we do?

This is a question we are frequently asked, especially by folks who need to write our name for documents or press pieces. The three words — songwriting with soldiers — are simple and straightforward, but put them together, like we do in real life, and something unique and magical happens. (Just check out the songs!)