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Our Inner Circle: another first

by Tammi Leader
 ∙ Dec 6 ∙ 6 Min Read

Today, with fingers crossed and, for me, an out-of-the-ordinary reliance on the Internet,  we are taking this Campowerment movement to cyberspace with the inaugural gathering of 12 women (+me and Chelsea) from the Campowerment Inner Circle.

Let me take a step back: immediately following our November ’17 retreat in Malibu (our 21st weekend of its kind!), we launched this great new experience as an extension to the sisterhood that comes with our weekends together. It’s a members-only community that rallies past Campers together around a digital campfire, and we call it Campowerment Inner Circle.

Today marks the first time (ever) that we’re re-creating the magic of our Campowerment Circles and bringing it to our Campers, wherever they are in the world.*

While, right now, there are only seats for women who attended one of our 2017 camps, we’re preparing to open up our Inner Circle to all past Campers, keeping the micro-community exclusive to those who’ve shared in the joy of our weekends.


Because we already know you, Campers, and we can guarantee you have common ground. You’ve done the work alongside us and you’ve shown up for yourselves in a similar way. (We’re not done celebrating that!)  You know the lingo, the traditions and the rituals. You’re not only a part of, but have been agents of change within our culture, and for that, you get the key if you so choose to open the gates.

In our Inner Circle, we are bringing together some of our Campowerment sisters, live,  to reconnect and continue to grow and share and learn from each other, month after month, side-by-side, from the comfort of their own homes.

As I said, we opened enrollment to 2017 Campers just before Thanksgiving, and 55 brave souls who attended a Campowerment weekend in this year took us up on it, proving they’re committed to keeping their camp halos in tact and to finding a way to stay re-ignited #BeyondTheCampfire.

We are over-the-moon excited to get this started with today’s Circle, led by three Rangers who are so ready to step into their leadership with this experience. Somebody pinch us, please!

The backstory:

When I laid down the hefty deposits for those first Campowerment Weekend Retreats in Malibu five years ago, I had no idea who might show up, but I had an inkling that women needed a place like Campowerment. “If I build it,” I thought. “They will come…right?!”

And I did so  you did…one at a time at first, then by the dozens then by the hundreds and eventually, we became a community of a few thousand women strong. And not just any women…THE women. 

Women like you, who were brave enough and naïve enough to surrender and trust us — me and my cute, wise, little college professor mom and eventually my super high-achieving visionary daughter — to leave your stories and your makeup at the gates. To throw on sneakers and sweatpants to get vulnerable with strangers, whose lives were not all that unlike yours (even though you kind of swore they were when you first arrived).

Women who just knew, deep in your bones, that if you ran away from home for a few days, to play a little and pick up a tool or two that could help you juggle and balance your crazy life a little better, it might help you shift your perspective…just a tad. 

You showed up for yourself in this unique space we created and you played and learned, but mostly, as you disconnected, you connected, big. With yourself and some pretty cool women whose lives would probably never intersect yours in the real world. And some of you stayed connected long after the sun set on your Campowerment weekend.

You told us stories that blew us away, which, yes, we catalyzed, but that YOU created, sometimes in person and sometimes online. You shared love, swapped stories and provided each other support on your journeys. You told us it felt fab just to feel you were part of something bigger than yourself, even when you got busy and lost touch with these women who had touched you so deeply on your own journey to where ever it is you happen to be going. And the connections you made,with us and each other, helped us understand it was our job to help you keep those feelings alive #BeyondTheCampfire.

That’s how the Campowerment Inner Circle came to be, and why its birth is so meaningful. Because it happened so organically.

And so, today, when I wrote you this letter at 4:37 AM PST, as the tears of excitement and pure joy stain my pillow (causing my cute new haircut to frizz), I tip my hat to you, our Campers, and the women who dream of being among them (who really have no excuse now that our nonprofit, Give Her Camp, is in place!),  and I allow my heart to explode with pride.

When I trusted my gut in January 2013 and took that leap of faith to launch this crazy experiment that is now Campowerment, against the odds, just because I believed in my soul that women need the support of each other, I knew…

(1) That you’d show up;

(2) That we are stronger together than we are on our own;

(3) That women need each other; and

(4) That the world needs us in the best iterations of ourselves.

So, when we initiate our first of seven inaugural Inner Circles, we will come together again virtually. For another first. Together. With women who,only a few years ago, were not really strangers. Only forever friends who had not yet met.

The welcome sign at what was once “Camp Akiba,” Tammi’s childhood summer camp, which inspired this takeaway.

Many of us will not know each other, but together we have that shared experience of our own Campowerment weekend(s), which means we all get it.

And we will hold each other up over the next year, even if we are thousands of miles apart, to set aside 75 minutes a month to grow and share and love and experience the peaks and pits of real life. Together.

And for that, I am grateful. For your support and your love and your willingness to show up, I am grateful. 

Thank you.

For believing in us. And trusting us. And reminding us that you know YOU are worth it.

Oh, and for crossing your fingers and toes that technology might actually be the second best thing to Color War.

Onward and upward.



*Except for the time we did a trial run with Phyllis Shinbane’s camp friends when she bid on the Circle as a donation to Give Her Camp!

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