Our History

Retreat for Girls is based on a program held at BYU for many years called Academy for Girls.  Academy for Girls was an amazing program that touched the lives of countless young women for over 30 years.  For many years, the Continuing Education Office at BYU sponsored many different programs which included: Academy for Girls, Especially for Youth (EFY), Be the Best You, Boys World of Adventure, and others. 

Changes began to be made to some of these programs starting in 1996.  Academy for Girls was shortened from a 10 day program to a 5 day program and the age limit was also changed from 12-18 to 12-14.  In 1998 the Academy for Girls program ended and a new program, Especially for Youth for Girls, in conjunction with Especially for Youth (EFY), was implemented.  Especially for Youth for Girls lasted just a short time before it was also discontinued.  When Academy for Girls was discontinued there became a void for those who had a desire to participate in youth programs but were too young to yet attend EFY.

Knowing the impact that Academy for Girls had had on their young lives, three good friends that had been a part of the Academy for Girls program, first as participants and then later serving together as counselors, decided to try to fill this void. Katie Smith, Trudy Barrett, and Marissa Brown were each serving in leadership positions in the church's Young Women's program in Idaho, Arizona, and California respectively. Their experiences led them to recognize the need for something once again and a vision for Retreat for Girls was born in 2003.  After two years of phone calls, brainstorming, and planning, the first session of Retreat for Girls was held during the summer of 2005 at Utah State University.

With a tragedy and several setbacks the first few years, the great experiences of participants and word of mouth praise for Retreat for Girls allowed it to continue.  Katie Smith, one of the original founders, established Retreat for Girls, LLC and she and her husband, Jeremy, have sacrificed in a labor of love to keep the program going thanks for the support of many past participants and their families, lots of counselors past and present, and many others.

Now in our 14th year, Retreat for Girls continues to grow and has established traditions of its own for girls from all across the United States and from countries around the world.  This world-wide network of girls gives us hope for the future and inspires us to continue our efforts to make Retreat for Girls possible. Girls look forward to joining us each summer to build their faith, find lifelong friends, and have fun.  We hope to possibly expand to additional locations in the future.