The West Coast Camp was the first annual summer camp by The Camp Collective. When Tara Lilly first texted me about a new idea her and Sara Rogers were working on, I'm pretty sure my words were "I'm in". It didn't even take a second to think about it. What was there to think about? I've missed the days of summer camp, being surrounded by like minded peers, doing art, challenging myself, hanging out in nature, and being silly. There are no shortages of workshops for photographers, or conferences, but this felt different. This felt like an opportunity to learn and teach at the same time, to let loose and embrace being silly while also working on our businesses in a serious way.
It didn't disappoint. The location was stunning and provided a beautiful backdrop for hiking, yoga, shoots on the beach, and just sitting and talking. The atmosphere and people were so positive and it felt so safe that it was pretty easy to talk openly. There were many heartfelt conversations and breakthroughs, some tears and lots of laughing. We played camp games, did photo challenges and ate meals together. Even when it was after hours, the learning didn't end. People would pull out their laptops to play with images from the day and it would turn into an impromptu editing class where everyone would share tips and tricks. We all took turns being in front of the camera and behind. It was bookended by the most exciting and magical bus ride I've ever taken. Our bus driver played music and handed out instruments to each of us as we entered. We sang and danced and laughed all the way there. It was the very first bus ride I didn't want to end.
I learned so much from all of the men and women who were there and took some of my most favourite portraits to date. Being able to teach other's really re-ignited something in me. It turns out I've missed teaching a lot. (Also, I've missed being a councilor, but that came as no surprise. Who wouldn't?)
There's only one ticket left for the next camp in the Rockies, and planning is underway for our Ontario camp. If you're a fan of the outdoors, learning and making friends, you should probably grab a ticket.
I cannot thank Sara & Tara enough for letting me be part of the first camp, and high fives to Cole Hofstra and Jacob Loafman for being stellar fellow councilors. It was so much fun hanging out with you and working with you all! <3