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Campers in the Wild – Phyllis Shinbane

by Christina Billie
 ∙ Jan 5 ∙ 6 Min Read

Hi everyone! I’m Christina Billie, and I’m an intern on the Campowerment Crew, here to amplify the amazing stories that bring this community to life!

Today I get to introduce you to Phyllis Shinbane, who has been on many retreats and now is a founding member of!

Christina @ Campowerment: Let’s start from the very beginning…Phyllis: tell us a little bit about yourself!
Phyllis: Hi! I’m Phyllis; I live in Calabasas, CA. I’m generous, loyal, insightful, a really good friend.

C: How did you first learn about Campowerment?
P: One day in 2014 I’m scrolling through Facebook and I see a video that my friend Stacey posted. She is standing at the top of a telephone pole, women are cheering her on, she takes a giant leap, catches a trapeze, the crowd goes wild and she is crying as she is gently lowered to the ground. By now I am crying too. The very next day my dear friend Jodi Perlman calls me and says, “Phyl, I just had the most amazing weekend and next year I’m going back and taking you.” I told her that I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about and described the video I watched. We hung up and I thought, “that was so sweet, but she won’t remember by next year.” Little did I know that Jodi would absolutely call me one year later in 2015 and take me to camp as her guest. It’s been the greatest gift I’ve ever received and every time I return to camp, I text Jodi and thank her again.

C: That is such a sweet story! Which Campowerment experiences have you participated in thus far?
P: I participated in one Mini Camp, six camp retreats, the very first Inner Circle (the test group for the first digital Campowerment community!), and two more years of Inner Circle. I’m now a Founding Member of and participate in anything that Campowerment ever does! I’ve participated in several of the expert-offered programs, including Dethroning Your Inner Critic with Joanna Kleinman twice and Organizational Boot Camp with Wendy Ellin. 

C: What have you learned about or found within yourself via your experiences with Campowerment?
P: Oh wow. That’s a big question! I’ve learned so much. First, the impact that camp will have on me is directly impacted by how open I am when I come to Campowerment…My most impactful camps are the ones where I surrender to whatever might happen. 

Since going to camp, I have definitely become gentler, less reactive, more insightful. I am more open to receiving all that comes my way. I am more understanding of the people I love most. The more I learn about myself, the more those around me benefit as well. 

I am always trying to love myself more. At Campowerment, I feel safe and I trust. At one camp, on the very first morning in the very first session, I shared something that I had never before said out loud. It was deep, it was scary, yet it was also a relief to know that I was surrounded by love and support as I shared. That was my most impactful camp experience and still affects me positively to this day. I received the “Camper of the Day” that weekend. I still treasure that certificate!

C: I love that! What did you walk away that has helped you be your best as a woman, a mother, a partner, a friend, etc?
P: As a woman, Campowerment started me on a journey to know that I am more than just a Mom (the job I treasure most but also sometimes lose myself in), more than just a wife, a friend, a volunteer, etc. If there is no room for me, then I disappear. And believe me, I was almost invisible. I was depleting my essence. Camp has taught me that I matter, and it really is like the oxygen mask on an airplane – you have to put on your own mask before you can help those around you. 

I have always been a very good listener to other people, but now I can truly listen and accept when people are saying nice things about me. Again, I matter, and if I matter then I can show up authentically to those around me. One of the nicest things that happened to me…I was getting ready to sign up for one of my camps and I told my husband I was doing that. He turned to me and said, “I see so much positive change in you since you’ve started going to Campowerment. Of course, you should go back.” 

C: What do you find special about the Campowerment culture/community?
P: Once at Campowerment, I find myself surrounded by women on the same journey. While the details may not be the same, the desire to grow into the best version of ourselves is pretty universal. I love the fact that for the first 24 hours we don’t talk about what we do. 

I knew there were some powerhouse women there but for the first 24 hours we didn’t talk about that and after that time no one cared. In hindsight, I now know that I have rubbed elbows with politicians, major players in the entertainment industry, heads of hospitals, women running their own businesses, you get the point. It just doesn’t matter at camp. As I have learned, camp friends are the best friends. The level of support and encouragement from fellow campers is amazing.

C: What do you want other women who have not yet become a part of this community to know?
P: I think many women feel that they don’t “need” a place like Campowerment since they are very happy with the way their life is; they feel they don’t need to change anything. I want women to know that Campowerment is about discovering things that you didn’t even know about yourself. You don’t come to camp because there are things wrong with your life, you come to camp to find out things about yourself that you couldn’t even imagine. You learn to step outside your comfort zone, you challenge yourself, you meet the most amazing women, you find yourself being supported like never before, you learn, laugh, sing, play, and leave better than you came. 


To Phyllis: thank you for sharing your story! 

To all the women reading this: I hope you can picture yourself in the company of incredible women like Phyllis (and me, my team and so many other special women who belong here). 

Join us and let’s create the future we’ve been dreaming about, starting now…with

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