Written by Jen Schwartz, Camper
I went to Campowerment for the first time in March 2016. Since then, I have attended four more of these life-changing retreats. You could say I’m somewhat of a Campowerment groupie.
They say (and I agree): no two camps are alike, but, for me, my Sept 2017 camp was especially different. This time, Campowerment assigned 11 women to live in Bunk 8 for the weekend and created an “US” that I got to take with me back into the real world.
These women have given me something that I hold most valuable. Something that is extremely rare: real friendship. A new kind. The kind where acceptance, validation, empathy, and authenticity live. The kind where all people involved know your insides…and love you anyway! The kind that FaceTimes you at 3 p.m. after you’ve texted that you are bingeing on Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies and Orphan Black on Netflix, and just can’t seem to motivate to get off the couch or be productive or even take a shower. The kind that allows you to be 100% honest about your motherhood and marriage; that celebrates your wins; that lifts you up after your falls; that sends Momofuko cake and unicorn or Wonder Woman-themed care packages to say, “we are thinking about you and are always here if you need us.” That rare, special, Campowerment kind.
You might not believe that in just 72 hours of living in a bunk together in the Poconos, 11 girls could have grown such a deep friendship, but we’re the living proof that it really did happen…I have the group text thread that dates back to September to back us up. Those texts started when we stepped out of our bunk and into the world outside of Campowerment both fuller and a little emptier because we couldn’t stay in our bubble together.
This friendship among these women has, in the past six months, already had a big bunk reunion in the mountains of Nashville, a smaller one in Charlotte and lots of hometown visits in between. It has seen the birth of a new baby whose nursery theme is camp.
I could go on and on about all the ways camp changed my life (and it’s not a dramatic overstatement: it really did change my life). I could write books about how I found myself, my purpose, my confidence and learned to use my voice, but I’ve already shared that story…A LOT. So instead, I’m going to let you hear it from my bunk besties because our Bunk 8 isn’t just f**king great, we are obsessed with Campowerment and obsessed with each other…healthfully, of course.