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Peaks of 2019

by Chelsea Leader Gold
 ∙ Dec 24 ∙ 8 Min Read

The end of 2018 was, quite literally, grounding. We narrowly escaped fire and, a bit in shock but with support like we’ve never known it, we came in to 2019 hot on the trails of the new beginnings we talk so often about. In 2019, through low valleys and high peaks with exceptionally clear views, we found those beginnings…and some required we welcome ends first. For that, we are so-o grateful, so humbled and so curious (excited, really) as to what the Universe has in store from here.

These were the hits (the good kind) of 2019, the moments we celebrate and relish in. Some give us goosebumps, some: butterflies, others: bursts of laughter or nostalgia. All of them give us warm hearts, sparkly eyes…and hope. Thank you for bringing this all to life with us. Let’s look back on this year before we kiss it goodbye…

Like a Phoenix, We Rose!

2 camps for women in Cali – 1 weekend retreat for an incredible non-profit client in the Poconos – 1 Day Camp offsite for a professional network of women in LA – 1 on-site summit for an awesome startup in LA, and a year-round, members-only experience that brought women together online once a month to keep and grow their promises to themselves beyond the campfire.

2019 was a rebuild year, and we’re honored and proud to have laid every brick to deliver nearly 500 Campowerment experiences end to end. We thank you for the hand!

Campers on the Move, Together

Almost 70% of November 2018 campers migrated from the camp that never was because of the Woolsey Fires to a women’s camp retreat in 2019 (and 85% of them came in March to a date and location they didn’t even originally choose). Testament to the fact that Campowerment is more than a time or place; it’s a feeling, a community and a mindset that pushes us each and all to SHOW UP for the experiences and people we care most about.

Herb it Forward Foundation’s Leadership Camp

Every June since 2016, our (crazy-amazing) clients at the Herb It Forward Foundation — a scholarship and mentorship organization that empowers a diverse population of burgeoning leaders from Philadelphia to learn and grow to max potential — allow us to create a retreat that connects and inspires the students they serve. 

In its third year, this HIFF retreat added: 1:1 resume-building sessions with Rangers, chosen by profession so they could mentor campers from a place of recent experience, a zipline that had ‘em flying over a glistening lake, a highly competitive round cupcake wars, nighttime yoga, a panel on navigating the professional landscape, a career carnival, peer Circles and and a grad student camper-led session on mentorship within the organization.

Whew! Big stuff…and s’more to come. 

Does your org have an agenda that could use livening in its delivery? Does your message to your community or audience or staff almost resonate but require a better delivery platform? Check this out.


March Camp, in a Snow Globe

March 2019 was our Phoenix Rising camp, and funny enough, day 1 felt like we were playing in a SNOWGLOBE! Our 4-day stint in Lake Arrowhead, CA brought laughter that reverberated in the mountains that held us in, with shout outs to these highlights:

  • Camper Marge and the (Camp Akiba + friends) Minions
  • Janine Driver (Body Language Analyst) and Leslie McGuirk (Astrologer)’s epic collab workshop
  • Our first camper from Brazil!
  • The soulful Ecstatic Dance party
  • The One Tough Bitch jean jacket auction
  • Camper Carla Feely’s mom’s incredibly thoughtful painting of Grandy’s journaling session in Malibu
  • And Intel and SAP’s team embedded into the experience independently, together

Dreams Came True for the Campowerment Crew

Dreams came true this year in every way we couldn’t have planned ourselves. Alli Romanski fulfills two dreams at once: pursuing a degree in Special Education and moving to California when she gets accepted into grad school and heads West! 

After 4 years at Campowerment, Lea Carlson — our first full-time hire back in Dec of 2015 — is ready to make her dream of working full time for a kids’ sleepaway camp a reality! She makes her next career move in January to join the year-round leadership team at KenMont/KenWood Camps (where she spent her childhood summers). We’ll be here rooting for her every step of the way!

Ojai! New Home, Who Dis?

November 2019 marked our first foray at our new digs in Ojai, CA! Though fires threatened, the community won this round, and there aren’t enough lucky stars in the bright SoCal sky to thank for that!!! Some shining moments and memories there and then:

  • Kimberly Cabot (of Handel Group Life Coaching) stepping up and into her power when her camp coaching partner couldn’t make the trip
  • Shiva’s disc-glow showdown
  • The spontaneous group sing to end all spontaneous group sings night 3
  • Welcoming Selena Watkins, Founder of Socanomics, into the camp fam with dance classes 50-women deep
  • The first Campower Ranger to cross the pond to volunteer (looking at you, Isabel! She came from the UK for her first-ever s’more!)
  • The first bunk shaped by the Inner Circle experience (where real-life experiences inspired digital connections that grew to inform real-life experiences. COOOOOL!) #BAMF
  • The generosity of 130 women generating $5K to grant Campowerment scholarships via Give Her Camp…and then two campers committing to matching funds raised!
  • Daily pink sunsets and perfect weather with the quiet winds blowing against the old, tall trees

We Fell (Hard) in Love with The Horse Shoe Farm in Asheville

In 2019, fate connected two Miami-born families, ours which owns Campowerment and the Turchin’s who own and family-manage The Horse Shoe Farm in Asheville, NC. This year, Chelsea and her two best girl friends took a trip down to Asheville, NC to scout what was to quickly become the clear first home to 2020’s Fancy Camp experience!! 

The farm’s a breathtaking 85-acre riverfront estate with incredible farm-to-table food and one of the coolest spas we’ve seen. And for 4 incredible, expert-clad days, it’ll belong to 45 women who will “bunk” in gorgeous guest homes and step out into the great outdoors to learn and play and move from one experience to the next, boldly, together and leave with hugely important connections to every other woman present!!

Next year brings an intimate excuse to pamper your purpose!! Want to come?

The Today Show came back to camp

We’re not the only ones who were moved and electrified by this community in the wake of Malibu’s Woolsey Fire. The Today Show took notice, too, capturing the story of the resilience of women who are *for each other* and airing that story TWICE this year!

Watch the full story here.

Ranger Retreat Tradition: Commence!

We held the first-ever Campower Ranger retreat, dedicated to the volunteer army of women…and men at our women’s and corporate experiences…who bring Campowerment retreats to life. They’re usually the ones behind the scenes, behind the curtains, under the hood…but this quick weekend in the Poconos was all about the Rangers being campers!! We tie-dyed, dove deep in Circles, went boating and ziplining, blew our own spiritual minds pulling moon cards ‘round the campfire, boogied in a DIY silent disco, stayed in one massive bunk and re-ignited with experts and friends Tammi Leader Fuller and Joanna Kleinman. 

May the tradition continue as we bring new experiences to life to serve those who make such a beautiful habit of serving others!

Give Her Camp sent 14 campers to camp this year, and fundraised for 21 campers in 2020!

Because of YOUR generous donations (big and small) and YOUR inspirational nominations, 14 of smart, brave women could spark their next chapters at Campowerment retreats this year. And this just in: as of Giving Tuesday, we (all!) raised more than $30,000 to provide the launching pad from which 33 campers (so far!) can catapult into the lives of their dreams.

Know an incredible woman you want to leap into her next chapters? Nominate her here.

Want to contribute to the future of the fund that empowers women to soar? Donate here.

Inner Circle Journal

When we launched Inner Circle, Campowerment’s live, digital members-only experience for the inaugural 2018 lap around the sun, we had exactly this kind of project in mind: a sisterhood of the traveling everything. First off: a journal (respectively), one that traveled from camper to camper (member to member, really) with a prompt that inspired each to pen hopes and dreams looking into a bright future, then to challenge or invite another camper (who they’d name and call on in the P.S.) to dream next. 

We’re on journal #2 (which has its own surprises for those who participated in the Inner Circle in 2019 – stay tuned!), and we’re affirmed in our hunch that a true community is an incubator for any and all kinds of dreams. The journal tells us so.

Up Next

Grandy taught us that, “readers are leaders,” so keep on!

The Beauty and Bounty of Giving: Herb it Forward Foundation (HIFF)

Campowerment Crew
Dec 19 ∙ 6 Min Read

Dear Dad: On Raising Women Like Us

Chelsea Leader Gold
Dec 16 ∙ 3 Min Read
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Way-Fun Fact #18
When you come to Campowerment solo, we bunk you with others who do the same. Coming with bunk mates? That works too. Party on.