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Camp Climb | Summer Camp for Creative Entrepreneurs

In August, I spent an amazing, unplugged weekend in New Liberty, Iowa at a Girl Scout Campgrounds for the inaugural Camp Climb retreat. It was exactly what my mind and soul needed after a busy summer wedding season, before heading into an even busier fall season. I went into the camp only knowing a couple of people attending, including speaker Dannie Fountain (aka my Google/Squarespace/marketing guru) and fellow Champaign-area resident Leah Longueville who I met with for coffee before the camp once we both realized we were from the same place. People travelled from all over the country to attend this camp, and I met a ton of new, awesome & inspiring women.

The campers were split into 3 groups - base, tent, and peak campers. As an established business, I chose the peak camp group and I was so inspired by the women in my group!

Friday evening started out with a meet-and-greet and social activities — sangria, leather luggage tag stamping, and flower crown designing. We then had dinner and the evening speaker, Carrie Anton from Wonder: An Idea Studio who talked about brainstorming. We then enjoyed s’mores by the fire outside before turning in for the night into our super uncomfortable camp beds! LOL A short thunderstorm

Saturday morning was up early for yoga in the fog (my first time ever doing yoga!), breakfast, canoeing in the lake, casual chats lakeside with Jenna Kutcher, and chair massages! After some great conversations, time for relaxing and lunch, it was time for the afternoon speaker series.

First up, Dannie Fountain who talked about 20% projects — essentially saying that you should commit a certain amount of time each week to work on a personal or passion project. At the time of camp, my new podcast was just a solid idea in my head with no real guidelines and one interview lined up. Camp was kind of the catapult that made me push to make it my passion project. I have been loving doing the interviews, editing, and getting the episodes ready to roll… stay tuned for my projected Oct. 1 launch!!

Then Amber Krzys encouraged us to stop pleasing people and start serving them instead. “You cannot give from your depletion,” she said. “Serve yourself first.”

Camp Climb founder Emma Hicks then did a panel discussion with Michelle Calloway who was one of my fellow peak campers. They talked about business and family, being from the midwest, and took questions from the audience.

The final afternoon speaker was Jenna Kutcher, host of the Goal Digger podcast, photographer, educator, and blogger. Jenna also did a Q&A from the audience and was truly an open book which was so nice to hear. She was super down-to-earth and personable. She gave me 3 great takeaways that I have been implementing into my business and hope to keep using.

Saturday evening was the pool party and food truck pizza — so fun and so delicious! There was also wine and Summer Shandy! Some people went down to the lake again then to release paper lanterns after dark, but many of the peak campers chose to go back to our cabin and organize our own mastermind session. It was a super time of bonding, inspiration, snacks, and camaraderie. It was great getting to know a fantastic group of boss babes on a slightly deeper level. A few of them also have podcasts or have been on each other’s podcasts, so I’ve been enjoying listening to them since camp!

Sunday morning was time for breakfast, a long walk, a cold shower, meditation/reflection time, and then closing ceremonies. Then it was back to Illinois and home!

I already have the dates for the 2019 Camp Climb on my calendar (Aug. 16-18), and am anxious to hear who the speakers will be when they are announced soon (edit: one was announced just after I wrote this post!)

Photos in this post by me (cell phone shots), Iron & Lace Photography, and Sweet Little You Photography. Part of the unplugged weekend was letting other people take the photos, and let me tell you — it was SO nice!

The Reset Conference 2018 | Indianapolis

You guys. I went to a photography conference and DIDN'T TAKE MY CAMERA.  I wasn't doing any shootouts this year on purpose, and I had a specific list of business items I wanted to learn about and tackle, so I left my gear at home.  The only reason I might have taken it would be to have it cleaned and calibrated, but there's always next year right?! LOL :)

Speaking of next year.... *drum roll please*... the Reset Conference will be in LEXINGTON, KY in March 2019!!  I can't wait for the green rolling hills, horses, bourbon tours, plantation shootouts, ahhh!!

Back to 2018, here are the speakers I learned from:
Twig & Olive Photography (Doug & Bobbi)
Hernan Sanchez (Stills by Hernan)
NC Stephens (Terminatetor Kitchen) -- he's from Champaign!!
Megan Kuethen
Jasmine Norris-Dixson
Jeff Rojas
Dannie Fountain (I bought a 1-on-1 mentoring session with her -- AMAZING!)
Christina Ramirez (I hope she's back next year because I NEED to do a shootout with her!)

The first morning of the conference, we woke up to the most beautiful sunset out our room window. And then it was off to finish checking people in at the registration table and for the first keynote speaker! The rest of the day was filled with breakout classes, and chilling in the room with Chicago-style pizza. :) A large group of people went to the Yard House, but I was exhausted, so I skipped out this year.  Next time, Vilma!! ;)

One of my favorite things about The Reset Conference since we moved out of Champaign and now into other cities, is getting to experience the culture, surroundings, and environment of other places that I don't visit often.  I got some awesome shootout images last year that I still uses in some of my marketing and on invoices. On Sunday I went to lunch by myself to make it back for my 1-on-1 with Dannie, and I took a nice walk around Monument Circle and enjoyed the nice-ish weather and sunshine.  It was fun to grab a salad on the circle and sit with a window view out at the hubbub of the city.

The last night of the conference, many people were heading home right away, but I had a somewhat harrowing experience on my drive home last year (got pulled over, got lost, was exhausted, was starving), so I decided not to chance it this year.  I booked a ticket on the Greyhound and brought the bus back to Champaign.  The bus station may have been a bit sketchy, but the relaxed drive was so worth it -- I was able to get a bit of work done, I took a nap, and had free wifi and a plug in!

At this year's Reset, we also had a photobooth with a pretty gold sequin backdrop!  The photos turned out SO great!  I'm so glad they added this little feature this year and I hope we have one again next year!  These photos are courtesy Stacey Houston Photography.

People always ask what your takeaways are from a conference.  I did take quite a few notes, but I made a conscious effort to stay present and really hear the speakers, so sometimes I just took photos of their slides instead of writing them down.  I also read a blog post from another conference saying that when it's over, you should narrow your key to-do list down to just 3-5 main things that you can focus on and actually do.  You can't do it all.  *I* can't do it all -- and I know that.  I have already made a bunch of updates to my website to make it cleaner and more attractive.  I also have some concrete tasks I picked up from Twig & Olive and Christina Ramirez that I'm going to put into practice right away.  I also want to up my food and commercial photography, so I'm going to take some big things I learned from NC Stephens and develop some more projects in the coming months.  He also told me one KEY piece of equipment I'm missing, so that is on my wish list that I'll hopefully purchase soon!

Can't wait to see everyone in Lexington at Reset 2019!!! #reset2019 #theresetconference