This blog post was written by Barbara Palmer, a member of the Campowerment community for many years, who is a highly effective offer-er and giver, and who found herself pleasantly surprised at how much fun it could be to ask and receive!
At the end of a Campowerment retreat, there is an ‘Ask and Offer’ mixer to identify what you need from the community.
^^ Barbara, at Fancy Camp in 2021, participating in Ask and Offer
At Classic Camp in September of last year, we wrote our asks on stickers and walked around sharing our asks with the other campers. During the mixer we were seeking support and seeing *if* we had something to offer others. The rules very specifically state that you could not write any offers on your stickers. Why? Because we are all so willing to help others, sometimes to the detriment of asking for what we need.
So, ask I did…
I had two stickers. One that asked for locations for AirBnB-type rentals for an upcoming adventure that was just taking shape in my head. Heck, maybe someone had a place or knew of a place, and I could help us both out by renting their property.
And the other asked for help to declutter my house. My house is neat, but I have 56 years of ‘stuff’: photos, yearbooks, kids’ projects, books (so many books), and household items that have value but are no longer valuable to me.
Camp ended MORE THAN 4 months ago and a couple weeks ago, my ask was fulfilled.
Marissa – an energetic, bundle of joy – was a Campower Ranger* at camp. She saw my sticker in September and promptly told me she was a Virgo…and that she could help. I didn’t know what that meant, but I did register that she lived about 1.5 hours from me (close enough) and was willing to help me take on a task that was so hard for me to start. We kept in touch sporadically over the past few months and on a Saturday in January, she showed up at my house eager to get to work.
^^ Marissa with Barbara’s dog, Archie
For the past 36 hours, Marissa got a glimpse into my life. She saw baby, middle school, high school and wedding pictures (I am divorced but still have the wedding album and my wedding dress). She made and helped me make hard decisions and get comfortable with what I was purging and why. Marissa helped me distinguish between something having ‘value’ and something being ‘valuable’.
Everything I have has value – to someone – but most is no longer valuable to me.
Items that have been in my garage for a few years, boxed and untouched, may no longer be valuable to my household, but could get a second life elsewhere. Donating and recirculating items that are valuable felt better to me than trashing everything.
Yes, there was junk, but there were also home goods that I would feel so much better donating to a home where someone was getting a fresh start. There were books that I loved (or didn’t) that others would enjoy. There were clothes that no longer fit my lifestyle and business wardrobe (or to be honest, my body), but would look amazing on someone entering or returning to the workplace.
It wasn’t hard work physically, but it was hard work emotionally. Filled with a lot of laughs over photos I shared with friends from as far back as elementary school.
It was a chance to connect over shared memories and a shared past. It brought me closer to that shared history.
Bonus: We ended our time with a girls night out!
^^ Barbara with Marissa and Megan from Campowerment…and her daughter Jaxon and her friend, too
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So, what is your ask?
Maybe it is task-driven (like my ask that was answered by Marissa) or maybe it is more support (accountability for something you want to do).
I have found that Campowerment is a great place to speak your needs, ask for what you want, and see what offers come your way. Whether in person or through the digital community – that is exactly what this is: Community.
Step outside of your comfort zone – and ask for what you want, not just for what you need. And see what happens.
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From the campfire & beyond…
*Campower Rangers are the super dedicated group of volunteers who act as counselors during our retreats – helping make camp happen.