Sunday, August 11, 2019

EMPOWER Summer Camp: The Recap

Disclaimer: I received a paid invitation to attend EMPOWER Summer Camp from SweatPink/FitApproach in exchange for social media postings. As an attendee, I received free swag from NowFoods, AfterShokz, GreatLakesGelatin, TakeyaUSA, JadeLeafMatcha, GrassFedCoffee, MomentumJewelryGimmeGrams, ThinkNoo, ArtisanTropic, LoveSuja, Goodr, and MyDandies. While I will mention a few specific products in this post, I'm sharing reviews of all those wonderful gifts in a separate postAll my opinions are my own. 

Where to start? I'm sure most of you reading this caught some of the social media posts from last weekend's EMPOWER summer camp. If you didn't see those, you at least felt my excitement prior to the big event! When the ladies of FitApproach asked me to come, you know I didn't say no! The biggest hurdle was my job. I was scheduled to work that weekend and I couldn't find anyone to switch.

Cue the temper tantrum. Ok, maybe I'm being dramatic but I wanted in. Lucky me, one of my partners took my weekend and the deal was sealed. I was going to summer camp!!! I don't even know if I can do this weekend justice in a recap. It's taken me about a week to absorb the entire experience. As Ruby, one of the SweatPink team commented, I'm completely blissed out.

photo courtesy of Ruby@fitapproach

Marcia and I hit the road by 1pm on Friday. We were Michigan bound! Save for one detour through the heart of Gary, Indiana (thank you Mrs. Google), we made it to Ronora Lodge without incident. We parked my trusty old Jeep and trudged over to Chadwicke Hall where we checked in and received 2 ginormous bags of swag. We were told to pick a room in Trilogy Hall, which was a dormitory-style building and we found an unoccupied room with twin beds. We arrived too late for the shakeout run, but we made it for yoga! I've always wanted to take a Flex and Flow class--Jamie didn't disappoint!

James Pancoast photos
Dinner was held in Chadwicke Hall. There was a long counter with fixings for tacos. Everything looked so fresh because the lodge grows almost all their own produce in their garden and greenhouse.  I did not have a bad meal the entire weekend. There were vegan options at every meal as well. After dinner we made our way to the campfire, where we roasted marshmallows (vegan) and made s'mores!

James Pancoast photos
I was excited to catch up with old friends, long time virtual friends such as RachelSandra, Betsy, Missy, and Annemarie and meet new friends.  We had to do a 'group activity'--a camp song-- and ours was led by Linda. Joining us were Alexis and Tikima. This was a great icebreaker and set the tone for the weekend.

"We must, we must, we must increase our bust..." complete with beatboxing by Timika
Guess you had to be there....
 James Pancoast Photos
We had an early wakeup call the next morning. Everyone was wearing their new AfterShokz TrekzAir for our run. We had 4 checkpoints to hit. The campers all started out together, but Marcia, Rachel, and I slowed down to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and each others' company. The horses just stared at us as though we were crazy!

James Pancoast Photos
Even though Jamie gave us explicit instructions, some of us 'slower' runners got a little lost. Marcia, Rachel, and I found all 4 signs. It just took us a little longer.


There was breakfast and then we listened to 'Campfire Stories'. Cam, De, Jamie, and Tasha shared some very poignant and inspirational stories about life and fitness. After that we headed out to the tennis courts for a HIIT workout with Kasey. There was a table with 2 big containers of Grape and Watermelon flavored BCAA plus ribose from NOW foods. I poured myself a big cup and sipped on it through the workout. The workout was in full sun. It was hot but the class was awesome! At least I though so. But you know I love bootcamp.

Kasey leading us through the warmup
James Pancoast Photos
Thank goodness for post-workout refreshments. Annemarie made smoothie bowls and we were able to garnish them however we wanted. We had the choice of berry or vanilla caramel. I went for the vanilla caramel. It was beautiful and it was delish!!!


There was a little free time after that. The lake was calling. Sandra and I made a date to meet up at the beach. I got down there before her and I hopped on that SUP. Sandra swam out to the floating raft while I paddled around the very weedy lake. The water was so clear that I saw fish swimming around. While Sandra and I took turns on the SUP, I jumped in the water off the raft. It felt so good.

James Pancoast Photos
After lunch, there was a presentation by Christine on Content Creation. She gave us a worksheet and some tips for blogging. Then we had options for our afternoon activities. There was a guided mediation workshop, a horse interaction, or a crafting project. The craft project was a make your own Momentum bracelet. I was all over that one. I think mine turned out pretty well, although it does look a bit like a ransom note. I've worn it to work every day since camp. The bracelet not only reminds me to be my best, it reminds me of the best weekend ever.


There was an afternoon HIIT and Flow class but I took a pass--I was beat! Instead, I went back down to the water to SUP again. When I paddled back in there were just 4 other people on the beach--Marcia, Amber, and Cam, who was taking photos with her husband. It felt so good to sit there and chill. After a shower, Rachel and I made plans to drive to town to get some wine for Happy Hour. As we got ready to leave, we spied wine chilling at the Happy Hour meeting spot! Holla!


Happy Hour was fun. Everyone mixed and chatted. I was especially excited to clink cups with Annemarie. I've been reading her blog for years as well as listening to her and Nicole's podcast. She was exactly as she seems on her blog--I kinda have a girl crush on her!


After dinner, we had the option of another yoga class or another bonfire. All mellowed out from the wine and friendship, Marcia, Sandra, Rachel, Betsy, Erica, and I gathered around the fire. Dusk settled into night and it was back to Trilogy for an early bedtime. But not before we grabbed a quick sunset at the lake.


With a run planned for Sunday morning with Rachel, I set my alarm for 6 am but I didn't wake up until 6:40 when Marcia asked me when I was getting up. I don't think I've ever moved so fast! We were promised Starbucks after the run--Alyse was making a special trip into town! Woo hoo! Rachel made me promise to run at least 3 miles with her and I did.

Handstands are more fun with a friend!
After breakfast, I said goodbye to Rachel and Marcia. I wasn't ready to leave and so I headed back to Chadwicke for a final yoga class. I thought it would be more a restorative class, but Jamie brought her A game and instead, we had a killer vinyasa class. I'm proud to admit that I finished the class, sweaty and tired. It's not often I go to the studio for yoga these days and I wanted to soak up every bit of this wonderful experience. We had a 'closing circle' after yoga, where we all reflected on the weekend and what we gained from it.

L-->R: Missy, Linda, Sandra, Marcia, Erica, me, Rachel, Annemarie
For me, this weekend was all about connections and yep, empowerment. I loved spending time with all the people I met but I have a few special shoutouts. I finally got to meet Rachel. Long time readers of my blog will know that I was supposed to run Grandma's with her in 2017, until my body had other ideas. At camp, we spent a lot of time together and I can't wait for our next adventure! I also finally met Sandra, a blogger who I have followed for a long time and who has openly shared her experience with depression on her blog. She had me at "water is my happy place". Sandra has empowered me to open up a bit about my depression. I hope I get to spend more time with this amazing woman. I reconnected with Erica, my Chi Runner friend, who promises to be my rabbit next year as I take on the 5k with a vengence. She's fast, so I've got some work to do! It was great to see Missy, my sweet friend, who says she stalks my blog and shares in my struggles. I'm in for the next Ragnar Sunrise. We got this, my friend. Annemarie--you get me and I love you for it. I'll clink wine glasses with you anytime! Last but definitely not least, it was wonderful to spend some quality time with Marcia. We've both been so busy this summer and haven't seen much of each other. Talk about empowering: this lady is truly the wind beneath my wings. As I have said in the past, everyone needs a Marcia. Along with feeling completely blissed out, making new connections and meeting all the amazing women at camp left me feeling incredibly blessed!

Jamie, Alyse, and Nic outdid themselves. These women are so insightful and so talented. They seem to know exactly what their influencers need and what the sponsors want. I was just so impressed with the planning, the venue, the classes...I could go on and on. I left feeling yep, empowered. I felt inspired to start pushing myself to do my thing again. There is nothing like a weekend with like-minded women to make you feel your power. I got this. And I can't wait to go back next year for more!


S'mores and memories! Summer camp for grownups. So fun! /via @oldrunningmom @fitapproach @NOWfoods @aftershokz @MomentumJewelry #fitness #summercamp #runchat #sweatpink

Have you ever gone to adult summer camp? Would you do something like this? Next year's EMPOWER camp will be in Roanoke, VA the first weekend in August! Stay tuned for details. Be sure to check out some of the empowering women I met at camp--I've hyperlinked their blogs or instagram accounts throughout the post. Check out my post on the swag we received! 

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown.


58 comments :

  1. I'm not a summer camp type gal, I never even went to camp as a kid but this? This I would do in a heartbeat.
    It's always a delight and joy to read of your enthusiasm both for your new (and old!) experiences and your deep connection with the folks you meet. I'm so happy for you that this weekend was all you'd hoped for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was just an amazing weekend! Totally blew my anxiety and expectations out of the water!

      Delete
  2. "Everyone needs a Marcia".... awwww xoxoxo! It was fun beyond words and my heart is full. Loved all of it AND our after lights out chats. That's probably why you couldn't get up on Sunday morning. Haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved having you be the Thelma to my Louise! You're the best. <3

      Delete
  3. It sounds freaking amazing. Work kept me away this year. (Unlike you, I couldn't change my deadline!). I am making plans for next year -- I hope you do it again too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was such a great weekend! I'm so glad that I went and that I was able to reconnect with you! Can't wait to be your rabbit!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It sounds like an amazing weekend. So jealous you got to meet Rachel!

    I went to camp as a kid, never as an adult. Making your own momentum bracelet sounds like a ton of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was REALLY looking forward to this write-up after your Facebook posts about the camp! What an incredible time/ activties, gorgeous photos capturing the whole weekend, and beautiful life-long connections made. I completely see why it was your best weekend ever. AMAZING!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It felt like a reward for all the years of running and blogging. I'm so glad I was able to attend!

      Delete
  7. Such an awesome review Wendy! I absolutely loved seeing all of the photos from the weekend on Instagram. Even though I wasn't there, I felt like I was! I am hoping to make the next camp adventure in Virginia next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sure hope you can join us! We really missed you this year!

      Delete
  8. I went to overnight camp for 10 summers as a kid and these are all the reasons that I loved it so much. I had serious FOMO and I will definitely be there next year! What a fun weekend for you all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you still keep in touch with your camp friends?

      I hope you can be there next year!

      Delete
  9. Sounds like an absolutely amazing experience! Loved following your adventures on IG. As Deborah said - I had such FOMO! So glad you had such a great weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like such a grand time with a bunch of quality peeps. I would have liked to have been there, but we had a big family wedding, and then it turned out the PA daughter was in the area for training at her company's HQ (45-minutes away) that week...so #familyfirst. Hoping to swing VA next year, though.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gosh, this just sounds incredible! I recognize so many wonderful faces in your pictures from the blogosphere. How fun to get together. Maybe I can make it next year... the perfect excuse to finally make it out to VA :) Glad you had such a good time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well that sounds like an amazing weekend! I'm so glad you got to meet Sandra. She's pretty fantastic. I'm lucky enough to get to spend next weekend with her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She said the same thing about you! Looking forward to hearing all about your relay!

      Delete
  13. What an amazing experience! I was supposed to be there but unfortunately life stuff interfered. I would have loved to see you again as well as Sandra, Annmarie, Jame, Alyse, and Nic, and finally meet Rachel and Marcia. So sad but hopefully I’ll be able to make it next year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was really disappointed that you couldn't make it! I hope everything is ok!

      Delete
    2. Yes, everything is okay. Just relationship shit. But it's fine.

      Delete
    3. Oh, I feel you on that...we probably need to talk about that! LOL. <3

      Delete
  14. What a fun weekend it was! Your recap brings back so many reminders of why I hope to be able to attend again next year!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have never been to adult summer camp, but after reading your post, I want to! This sounds like an awesome weekend. Jam-packed with fun things to do. So glad you had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of an adult summer camp and this one delivered!

      Delete
  16. This sounds like so much fun! I'm impressed that the lodge grew a lot of their own food and that you had good meals all weekend. Usually, I think camp and it makes me think of mediocre food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was worried about the food too, but after our first meal, I realized that I had nothing to worry about!

      Delete
  17. Oh my gosh it was such an incredible weekend! I can't believe it's over.... I am so looking forward to next year!

    ReplyDelete
  18. what an amazing weekend <3 I'm so happy for you but I can't help but feel that little heartache that misses having a tribe and a chance to actually connect with them in person. I did go to Fitbloggin weekend couple of times and I know how these connections feel. I would love to go to something like this, but it would be really tough to do so for just a weekend.

    i'm so so glad you had such a wonderful time with friends!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know if I hadn't gone I'd be having FOMO as well. I had to balance sharing what a great time we had with not overdoing it--it's hard not to be a part of things, right? But you were in good company--there weren't a lot of our running blogger tribe there.

      Delete
  19. Aww, what a sweet post! I've been enjoying all the different posts and stories from the camp! It truly sounds like you ladies had a blast and enjoyed yourself so much!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Not a detour through Gary lol! The weekend sounds so fun and you got to meet a lot of awesome women!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When Mrs Google tells you to exit, you do! We were so busy talking, we didn't even realize where we were until we were there! Next time, I'm going to think twice about her reroute. Not a good place to detour through. Thank goodness camp was so fun!

      Delete
  21. Gary Indiana! I'm a huge Stephen King fan and when we could see the smokestacks from Indiana Dunes I squealed. But yes, I wouldn't want to drive through it.
    Looks like you had an amazing time - yay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, I forgot about the Stephen King reference! Yeah, not going to take that detour again.

      Delete
  22. Great post, beautiful recap, perfect place and good company! Love the pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a professional photographer and he didn't miss a shot.

      Delete
  23. Sounds like a perfect weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am still reliving this amazing weekend! So glad you were a part of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure this experience exceed all of your expectations! Thanks for the invite and I'll be back next year! <3

      Delete
  25. It sounds like you had so much fun! Sounds intriguing and Roanoke is about a three-hour drive for me...

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a fun weekend! And I love how you met so many bloggers IRL!

    ReplyDelete