If someone would have told me a few months ago I would be the office manager at a camp in the middle of the Colorado Rocky Mountains I would have thought it was a somewhat insane notion. Afterall, I am well beyond the years when an adult thinks about walking away from life as they know it for an extended period of time. Well, that’s not entirely true. Adults dream about all kinds of ways to escape from the daily grind of earning a living but it usually lasts about two weeks, the average amount of time most Americans in the workforce get per year to vacation.
So after a year of big changes in my life, I found myself needing a big break. Initially, I considered something along the lines of volunteering to work on a Habitat for Humanity build in a third world country, but a friend felt as though it was necessary to remind me that there were a few things I might miss starting with clean, filtered water and electricity.
“What do you mean?” I said. “I spent years going to camp and had no problem surviving for days hiking along the rather secluded Lake Superior shoreline and canoeing down one of the many northern Michigan rivers.”
“Yeah, well, you were 15,” replied my friend, “and you eventually went back to camp after 5-7 days where you had running water that didn’t carry dysentery or e coli.”
Point well made and taken.
Anyway, I am a huge believer in everything happens for a reason. And there was definitely a reason why I ended up at Camp Inc. The biggest reason? The mission…plain and simple. I mean, come on, if you are someone like me who has always embraced an entrepreneurial life, this is definitely the place to be whether you are 15 or 50.
Ok, fine…50 plus.
Age aside, being here I do feel like I am contributing to help shape the minds of future entrepreneurs as well as the chance to meet some very cool guest mentors.
I have been fortunate enough to be part of the incredible movement of start-ups and business accelerators in recent years back in my current home, Tampa Bay. In fact, I owned a baked goods company for a few years and through my networking connections had the opportunity to try to mass produce and distribute one of my products. While I was never able to find a manufacturer that could do the production at a cost that would actually enable me to make money (just a minor detail), I still learned a lot from the experience. So even though I am not one of the specialists or counselors, I think I still came to Camp Inc. with enough experiences working for entrepreneurs as well as being one myself. Add the fact that I am a mother to two kids that are well on their way to creating their own adult life experiences, this summer seemed like a no-brainer to me.
Suffice it to say, I am having a great time. The low humidity and relatively moderate temperatures…well, at least compared to Florida…has definitely been an added bonus. And as HIllel said long ago, and I mentioned in my application, “If not now, when?”
To all of the parents of Camp Inc. campers, I assure you that you made a great decision in sending your kids here. I watch their eyes light up discussing coding and business models then an hour later compete in a game of Gaga or 9-square. They are smart, passionate and definitely have a way of keeping me on my toes. So as the first session is about to end, I really want to say thanks for sharing them with me for a few weeks. You should be very proud of the efforts they made over the past few weeks whether creating and branding a lemonade product to sell at the local outdoor market this past Saturday or pitching unique business ideas in front of our our guest “sharks” at today’s Final Demo Day. I wish them all best wishes for success and happiness as they navigate forward to whatever the future brings.