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That Mom/Daughter Thing

by Chelsea Leader Gold
 ∙ Dec 14 ∙ 6 Min Read

I’m often asked how it is working with my mom and Grandy, and to that I have a ton of answers, some mushy, some funny, some less-than-sexy. But it’s not often that I’m asked how it is experiencing camp with them retreat after retreat. And lucky for me that the question comes seldomly, because when it does, the tears flow and the mush is abounding. In short, it’s the greatest gift of all.

Honestly, seeing my 80-year-old grandmother judging a karaoke contest in a pleather catsuit…is this real life?! Standing beside my mom, my best friend and mentor/my boss and my partner, while she leads games and spews jokes that I’ve been hearing for years to women who are kooky as we are…there is almost nothing like it, except realizing that the thing we’re creating is a vessel for other moms and daughters to feel the same connection, the same partnership, and the same pride that’s so big they won’t even know where to hold it. 

I asked some Campers who came as mommas and daughters to back me up. Here’s what they said:

The Renards

Susan Renard-Trevor, daughter of Marion (and mother of Remy, too young to come to camp! And Josh and Jake…who are boys, so…)

My mom is my best friend and I was so proud of myself for fulfilling her lifelong dream of going to sleepaway camp! On the first night at Campowerment, my mom looked at me and said, “If I had to leave now, this experience would’ve been enough.” I was so happy to hear that!

I was SO PROUD of my mom for putting her whole self in and not holding back so she could fully enjoy every aspect of camp!

I was SO PROUD of her for winning “Weekend Warrior!

I was so proud seeing all the people she made such an impact on!


Marion Renard, mother of Susan and Debbie (who both came to Campowerment with her in September 2016)

The whole experience of Campowerment was a dream come true.  I not only fulfilled a wish on my bucket list, but I went there with two of my best friends. How would I have ever known when I gave birth to them that they would be so much more than just my daughters? I wish I could have had the opportunity to go there as a youngster, but am thankful that I got four days of campfires, s’mores, songs, Color Wars, new friends, yoga, happy hour with wine, and delving into myself with complete honesty to help me  understand myself with strangers, who, in those four days became my friends.

And thank you to my bunk mates. The last night was a blast, giggling until 3 in the morning. When is the last time you did that in your 70’s with your daughters and twelve others as bunkmates? You cannot imagine what an honor it was for me to be picked by you as camper of the weekend.

The Carlsons

Gloria Carlson, mother of Lea, who’s been a full-time member of our Campowerment Crew since January 2016

So often I find that, as a mother, when I gather with friends, we just talk and talk about our children. At Campowerment instead of just talking about my Lea, I actually got to share an incredible experience with her. I learned from her, and I loved it.  

You rarely get you see your child do their job, and it was a delight to watch Lea in a leadership position and share the joy of her hard work and dedication. To see how she
turned her love for sleep-away camp into her profession is admirable and I can’t wait to share many more camp experiences together.

Lea Carlson, 27, daughter of Gloria

On the last day of our September ’16 Weekend Retreat in the Poconos, my mom turned to me, in tears, and said “I am so proud of you.” Through this entire year while she understood what I did, I never felt like she really understood why I did it.  Our experience together was everything I could have dreamed of…and then some. Hearing those words come from her means more to me than she’ll ever know. Watching her be a Camper, re-living her glory days – so carefree — made everything come full circle for me. It was everything.

Katie Queen, 27, daughter of Renee

It was amazing to watch my mom, who is a physician (and, of course, a mother), relax, no pagers, no email, especially in the first 24 hours when work was an off-limits discussion!

I think over time, its so easy for work to become so much a part of who we are that it is hard to separate the two. Although I so admire and am proud of my mom every day for what she does professionally, it was so rewarding to see a more unencumbered, care-free, version of herself where she let loose, and put her needs, wants, and desires first.

Julie Rowlands, mother of Taylor (who just turned 21)
I am so proud of Taylor because she said YES to Campowerment & came with an open mind & she loved the Workshops. I got to witness and admire her ability to confidently interact with women of all ages. There was no age barrier. Hearing beautiful comments about her from other ladies warmed my heart.

Seeing her courageously climb the Leap of Faith & the high ropes made me think, “I’ve done my job.” She is an independent, smart, brave woman ready for the world! And going forward she has this “sisterhood” to hold her up and walk beside her.

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Have a special woman who walks through life beside you? Gift her camp, and take your love for one another up another level. Even when it seems impossible that one exists, we swear it’s there, and we know how you can access it. (Right here!) 😉 

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Way-Fun Fact #26
Our scholarship foundation (Give Her Camp, Inc) is fueled by past campers (+ people who believe in this movement) who want to pay their experience forward.