How do you decide what specific topics are important to you to include for a weekend retreat like this?
Nikki: We had a mix of people telling us what they wanted and just from the work we do with women creatives we know what would interest them!
Mandy: We went into planning our first retreat with the concept that it would be for creative women entrepreneurs. So from there, we thought about what we would want to learn as an attendee and what the other female business owners in our lives had told us that they were either struggling with or wanted to learn more about. We want the programming to cover more logistical aspects of running a creative business, as well as the emotional aspects. Through workshops and group discussions, we have been able to bring on some amazing women to collaborate with over the course of the weekend.
What was your favorite part of the weekend?
Nikki: Ice cream and feelings. It's an open mic night on the last night of camp and it's incredible how close people come together and what powerful answers women have to the question "what I know to be true".
Mandy: Ice Cream + Feelings is kind of the best. We've done it both years and it is such a highlight. By Saturday night, people are feeling much more comfortable with one another. They have spent a full day together, shared meals, shared sleeping spaces, and now they are really open to be vulnerable. After our group dinner, we have ice cream and a microphone where people can share some of their feelings. We prompt the women with the question "What I know to be true..." which allows for very open ended responses. At first it can be really scary to stand in front of a large group with a microphone, but once people allow themselves to be vulnerable, everyone else follows. People head up to the mic one after another and share. They share their experiences or advice or struggles or breakthroughs. We cry. We laugh. We continue to shove our faces with ice cream. It's just a really beautiful experience.
What are your goals for the participants who come to Let's Camp / what do you hope they ultimately take away from their experience?
Nikki: My heart sings when I see women get together after camp, stay friends, and do business collaborations. This happened a ton, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me.
Mandy: I really want people to feel supported, seen, and heard. I think that the programming is great, but I really think the most important part of the weekend is the relationships that are made. People let their guards down pretty quickly when they're at camp, which allows for friendships to form more rapidly (nobody is judging you when you're covered in sweat, dirt, and bug spray since everyone is covered in sweat, dirt, and bug spray). I hope that everyone that comes to camp leaves feeling supported by all of the women, connected to new friends and collaborators, and inspired to go back to their businesses.
Do you have plans of expanding Let's Camp to other cities?
Nikki: We have absolutely talked about this. I'm in Australia now so it makes things a little more tricky but I would love to host something here after I've built up more of a community! :)
Mandy: At the moment, no. I don't really think that Let's Camp can fully exist outside of the grounds of Camp Wandawega. With that being said, that doesn't mean other retreats of different names and types won't happen in different cities. In terms of The Glossary, we have hosted different retreats of varying sizes and do have plans to lead new retreats in different cities.