When I first heard about Camp Mighty, I immediately loved the idea. Getting together with like-minded folks to work on living mightier lives? It's a concept that's right up my alley.
My own personal goal in attending Camp Mighty was to find inspiration and motivation to accomplish my goals for the next year and to move towards a more creative career path.
I came away with motivation, inspiration, and more - but I have to say, most of that had to do with the other wonderful women I got to know over the course of the weekend (Alyson, Caitlin, Elisabeth, Mindy, Michelle, Maggie, Cameron, Emily, and many more). It was such an amazing experience to come to a place with a community of individuals who are all supportive of each other's hopes and dreams and for that alone, I'm so glad to have attended.
Here are a couple of things people said that I just can't stop thinking about;
Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl & Go Mighty, sharing her path towards achieving her own life list - mentioned that if the universe puts an opportunity in front of you, why wouldn't you take it. She also chatted about surrounding yourself with people that pull out those best qualities in you and give you energy (something I need to work on finding in my new city).
Derrek Kayongo from the Global Soap Project, sharing his journey about paying attention to those punctuations in life, connecting the dots, and not letting your situation define you (I can't even begin to tell you how his talk has helped me get through this time in New York!).
Margaret Stewart of Facebook, talked to us about not convincing ourselves that we're "not the the creative ones" (with so many talented friends and family members - I know I do this) and reminding us that "makers gonna make".
Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo Balloons, taught us about NED; Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best. She also reminded us that the value we assign to things, may not be the value that others do - so never deny someone their caviar.
Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, was absolutely fabulous and just plain awesome. She talked about writing for yourself, always doing something stupid, and pretending that you're good at something - even if you're terrified of it!
Ben Silbermann, one of the founders of Pinterest, noted that the work we do when we're procrastinating is the work we should probably do for the rest of our lives. He also mentioned a quote from the Life of Pie; "to choose doubt as a philosophy of life is to choose immobility as a way of transportation". Finally, he talked about how the best things in the world are made by groups of people who can dream together.
Nathan Bransford told us to not write the book we think we should write, but instead write the one you just can't shake.
A couple of things that made the experience just so positive;
Dancing and voguing for the Smilebooth at the Camp Mighty Space Party - and getting complimented on my space nerd costume by Jenny Lawson, who wore a TARDIS dress (points to whomever can identify the costume)! This was seriously an awesome dance party - especially when few women started lobbying to get the DJ to play Footloose, and he initially laughed it off, but then when he gave in - the campers mobbed the dance floor.
Getting oodles of comments on my life list dress! I've never had so many people comment on anything I've ever worn - so it was fantastic feeling to get so many compliments on something I made myself!
And finally feeling like it's okay to dream big because there is this great community of dreamers out there who are actively making their dreams happen. You can find a lot of them over at Go Mighty...including me!
And now I want to mention a couple of things that I found disappointing because it's important all parts of the experience - both the good and the not so good.
First, something light. I don't like Palm Springs. There, I said it. I'm probably the only one - but I'm just not that into the desert. Yes - some of the vistas of the mountains were quite pretty, but not enough to make me want to go there instead of the Olympics or something. I like trees, moisture, and greenery.
Events like these take sponsors to make them happen. I get this. But at Camp Mighty - the sponsorship of a couple of organizations was shoved in our faces so much - it actually turned me away from the products they were trying to promote. And that totally bums me out.
There were issues with the organization of the event - this was distracting and it took away from the experience. For example, our team life list lunch was so much less than it could have been due to a few organizational issue and this lunch was supposed to be one of the highlights of the weekend.
One of the presenters was just downright offensive - while talking to a group of creators and makers, she joked about stealing someone else's content and not crediting them for her presentation. And that just killed the rest of the day for me.
And finally, the food experience was less than optimal. I had asked several times prior to arriving about their ability to accommodate me and was repeatedly told I was covered. Each meal was a struggle to determine what I could and couldn't eat and it seemed like the designated dietary needs person was trying so hard to make things right. It all culminated in this absolutely ridiculous final meal - which I just had to chronicle on instagram for the purpose of hilarity. I don't know where the food stuff went wrong - but bottom line, it was rough!
All that being said - I believe in the mission of Camp Mighty and I got what I exactly what I wanted out of it; motivation and inspiration. I believe in Camp Mighty so much, that I became that over enthusiastic person and wrote a way too long e-mail to the Go Mighty staff with things that in my opinion, could improve the experience and have also offered to put my time/skills (because I have no money) where my mouth is and offerd to help if they'd like additional support in the future.
On the fence about going to Camp Mighty?
Don't let my experience with the food hold you back. Work with the team and the hotel restaurant to try and accommodate your needs - but come with back up food for your meals.
By far the most valuable things I took away from my experience was the new community of friends from across the country. That in itself was worth it to me - I needed to find my people.
With the combination of the registration, airfare, and hotel room (which was very expensive!) it's a significant chunk of change to spend. The only reason I was able to attend was because I had enough airline miles for a free round trip flight and came into a chunk of unexpected money that covered my registration and hotel. In my normal monetary state, I could not have afforded to attend - and that's okay - it wouldn't have killed me to not go.
If you like swag, they hand out some darn awesome stuff - and gift a number of life list goals as well! As a result of attending Camp Mighty and having it on my life list, I was gifted a ticket to attend Alt Design Summit by one of the founders of the event! Total crazyness - that kind of thing never happens to me. One of the sponsors, Bing, also partnered with Wantist, to give us gifts towards one of our life list goals - I got yarn and an intarsia pattern! And then theres the DIY goodies, Lands End dress and bag, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Lots of good quality swag.
Will I be going next year? Bottom line, it's going to come down to money and if I have the cash or don't. I'm glad that I went once but I'm not sure that going again would yield benefits high enough to justify the expense for a second time - when it's not something that I could afford under normal circumstances.
Do you have any questions about my Camp Mighty experience? I'd love to answer them if you do!