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#BetterTogether: Creating a Community You Can Count On

by Tammi Leader
 ∙ Jul 6 ∙ 4 Min Read

Martyrdom is so 2018, and if you’re not leaning into your community when you need help, you have no one to blame but yourself for where you land.

It’s no secret: we’re better together. 

Last November, the Woolsey Fire burned down the Malibu camp we called home for 5 years. Everything Campowerment owned was decimated. 

We thought we were finished, but our community, the one we spent 5 years building, stepped up and carried us through. With more love and support than we even knew we needed. This is a story you may have heard us (or the Today Show or Forbes) tell before…point being: the power of the Tribe is palpable. Ours helped us raise $70K to recoup our biggest losses from the fire, so we could continue our work, empowering women and transforming company cultures. A win-win-win. That’s how community works.

When I created Campowerment in 2013, as an homage to my childhood happy place, I didn’t really understand what community-building looked or felt like. I just knew we were all finding comfort in our posse of like-minded people, and as the business grew, so did our connections, which began sprouting exponentially.

Campers began to lean on each other, on an as-needed basis. Supporting each other through heartache and transition…from divorce to cancer, caring for aging parents, raising children who could cope with or overcome anxiety, and a boatload of other issues they shared. They laughed together through easy times, too! 

As founder of this movement, every day of every week of every month of every year since we began, I was proud to watch this all unfold, from a distance.

Then last month, I got sick. Really sick. In-the-hospital-for-almost-5-weeks sick, with a punctured colon. My daughters, sisters and parents live far away, and I needed help. Though I hated to ask, I had no choice but to reach out to the community I had created, and ask for a life preserver. After I had been in the hospital for two weeks, and wasn’t getting better, I realized that I needed a second and third opinion from specialists I couldn’t get to myself, so I dug through my contacts and began reaching out to influential people I only half-expected would answer me. Every single one came through. Big time.

And campers-turned-friends-turned-family cared for me every step along the way.

My people helped me get out of one hospital and into another, to a great specialist who was sure she could fix me, without complications. (Spoiler: she did!).

I also needed space during this treacherous time, for my body and my mind to heal. I asked my peeps for that too. It was amazing to step away from the phone and the computer, knowing I had a whole team in my corner, cheering me on, without having to talk to anyone. 

You don’t know how strong you are ‘til you have to be. But there’s no reason to go it alone. Ever.

Receiving begins by leaning into your posse, whether they’re your college gang, the PTA moms, your yoga crew, church friends or colleagues. You never know who can help you when you need it, but if you don’t ask, you’re probably not going to get it.

How to engage your community when you need their support:

Step One: Make bold moves and get vulnerable. Be honest about what you need and why, and don’t be afraid to ask for it, even if it feels like a stretch.

Step Two: Cast a wide net. Often, the people who can help you aren’t even people you know yet, or those you’d never expect could be your lifeline.

Step Three: YOU come first. Ask for help for yourself the way you’d ask for someone you love. If you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of THEM. 

How do YOU lean into your community and what have the results been when you simply ASK for what you need? 

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Way-Fun Fact #28
Campowerment campers range in age from 21 to 80+. Intergenerational friendships made at Campowerment continue + grow, long after the bugle blows.