Last weekend I had the very distinct pleasure of attending Camp Mighty. Maggie Mason (Mighty Girl) and Laura Mayes (The Queso) are seriously awesome. I spent the weekend meeting new friends, chatting with old friends, discovering refreshing things and spending a lot of time in a bathing suit. I even danced. And got a massage. It was entirely unlike me.
There were boozy slushy things that changed every day.
The camp was set up so that we had plenty of time to find each other and chat and I was delighted that most everybody could be found hanging out by the pool. Even when it was raining cold, cold rain the place to be was in the steaming hot tub. It reminded me of the summer in college that I spent in a small town in Italy, there were no phones so if you needed to find people you just went to the piazza and either found them or somebody who knew what they were up to. Our weekend at the Ace was like that, but with a hot tub.
Early in the days we attended talks that made me feel like humanity was going to be OK after all.
Brian Piotrowicz who had an amazing resume and came to tell us about working on Oprah’s show and how intention drives what she and all of the people who work for the company do. I wonder what I could do if I manage to keep that in mind. I wonder what we all could do if we kept that in mind.
Evany Thomas gave a funny and engaging talk about what happens when you face things that you’re a little afraid of and embrace things that might have gone wrong and let yourself turn in a different direction when you need to. I kept this in mind when I very narrowly missed a connecting flight. It took a few hours hanging out in the airport but I learned that if you stop pouting and get to know your fellow standby passengers you might just witness game show like applause as your names get called to get on board at the last second.
Buster Benson (who also lives in Seattle!) talked about brain chemistry and habit and how to use technology to share and shape who we are. I have a few not-so-productive habits I need to be shaken out of so I was listening closely. (For the record, campers, I managed to resist the peanut butter cup and even left it behind. Meaning I’ll be enjoying that anticipation forever.)
Lisa Congdon talked about how she transitioned from leading a non-profit to becoming a very prolific and talented artist in the last few years. Guess what? It involves a lot of hard work and a lot of pressing forward through fear and results in a lot of reward.
Palm trees, mountains, shade, an outdoor bar and nearby pool. There was nothing missing.
The afternoons were filled with a refreshingly non-imperative collection of skill building events that included learning to saber open a bottle of champagne, throw a punch, make champagne punch, make a mix tape, meditate, make a balloon animal, have personal swim instruction, or learn to use one of those heavy duty fire extinguishers. Sadly a freak rainy day (apparently it broke a 13 year old record) meant that the champagne sabering was canceled but we still got to make punch (and later raid the champagne reserves). The non-imperativeness of everything made me motivated to attend everything I could. Oh Camp Mighty, how well you know me.
You can’t tell by this photo but The Tontons all have great hair going on.
The evenings were filled with cocktail events. Night one had us sampling wine and listening to The Tontons which Laura Mayes insisted were the band that would be discovered at SXSW next year and we would all get to say that we heard them way back. She wasn’t wrong, they are amazing.
Night two included a space themed costume party. Tang cocktails, freeze dried ice cream and a rocket created by the Ace Hotel were included. The DJ was dressed as Spock. There was a dance off. It was huge fun.
My room at the Ace had a lot of the usual things you could buy, like robes and booze. But it also had this walking stick. And some 3D glasses that were cheap. Neat.
And of course a huge part of the camp weekend was focusing on our Life Lists, 100 things we want to do in our lifetime. I’m a little wary of the woo woo factor of things like this but it somehow manages to be all around good stuff that all my trepidation was easy to shed. We shared the five things we want to focus on this upcoming year with our groups (about 25 people each) and a lot of emotion ran through the room. I kinda wanted to go around the room again. Part of sharing our things was including one thing we wanted to get help with and I swear every person in our group had an answer or a connection to get started on before we were done. It was pretty darn inspiring. And it reminded me that I need to get over my shyness and just talk to people no matter where I am. Once you get past that awkward phase there is often so much you have in common.
The tent where the talks were held had this enormous light which I wanted to bring home with me.
Know what? Camp Mighty was raising money for Charity Water and with the help of all of you (you!) that helped us (thank you!) we surpassed our goal of $20K before the camp started and made so much more while we were there that Laura managed to figure out that we helped 1,111 people on 11/11/11 before 11:11 a.m. Which is super awesome. Yay for focusing on helping others. I learned a lesson there.
The windows of the ladies locker room at the hotel included this application of window film? contact paper? that made it private and cool looking at the same time. I have a thing about window film so I snapped a picture hoping that nobody would walk in right at that moment. Which, standing in a locker room, might have been awkward.