Over the past few years I've attended several lady camps. I'm a two time Ladies Rock camper (2011 & 2012) as well as a two time Oakley Progression Sessions (OPS) camper (2012 & 2013). Years a ago I would have never though that such a thing existed, and when I was younger (when I could have benefited even more) they definitely didn't. These two camps were vastly different, but shared many of the same core principles and I came away from each with a fancy new skill set, a huge sense of accomplishment and major confidence boost that has extended beyond the particular skill I learned at camp and into my regular life. In 2012 I did both camps in ONE MONTH! At first I thought it was kind of indulgent to sign up for two ladies camps in one month, but then I decided that was the wrong way to think about it. It's not like they were two spa getaways, they were mentally and physically challenging weekends doing something very important that all of us should try to do more often -- pushing your limits and getting out of your comfort zone. I could very well carry on with my life staying in situations that are comfortable or I can try to grow as a person. I've learned so much about myself through these two camps and, especially for someone like me who is not exactly the most self confident person, the things I've learned are truly invaluable.
|me and my bandmates The Buzzards, Ladies Rock Camp 2012|
2012 was my second time doing Ladies Rock (the first time I learned drums and that time I learned keyboards) and my first time at OPS. Both camps seem to have a mix of first timers and old timers, I'd say about half of the women at OPS had taken it in previous years. I think Ladies Rock was about 28 women, while OPS was a whopping 82; with ages ranging from 13 to 67!! Watching the older women was super inspiring, and honestly the prospect of potentially having another THIRTY years of snowboarding ahead of me thrills me. Both camps followed a similar schedule with a morning activity (we started both mornings with yoga at OPS (taught by a yoga instructor/snowboarder) and kickboxing at LR. In both camps it's amazing how quickly you start picking up skills that would have seemed impossible before. I can't say enough positive things about the women teaching/running both of these camps. Everyone was so enthusiastic and ultra positive. It also struck me how women whose skill level is about a billion times greater than the baby step you're taking will cheer on said baby step as if you did an Olympic level trick. I always say that my one of my favorite things about LR was in the video from that year. There is a shot of Chrissy Wolpert's face as she's watching the final performance and the emotion and excitement visible there is just incredible. I got the same feeling from Gretchen Bleiler (an Olympic athlete, who if you're not familiar with check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcLLhIzhc6c) whose face was so lit up and could not high-five me fast enough after I landed my first 50/50 off the small box, something she probably mastered at age 11. Seeing these accomplished women SO pumped for our tiny victories says volumes about them as teachers. I'm so grateful for all of them. Here's a rad video that my friend June put together that really captures the magic of camp.
|from the Oakley Women instagram, me in my crazy yellow 70s suit on the box.|
We started OPS working on simple drills, ollies, riding switch and progressed to learning simple tricks on the jumps and boxes in the park. This was all unfathomable to me previous to this. I would have NEVER tried anything in the park, it scared the hell out of me. By day two I was doing boardslides on the big box and landing them! A huge help in all of this was the fact that Gretchen offered to readjust my stance (which I promptly took her up on at lunch on the second day). She took tons of time with me, measured everything out and gave me a whole new stance and that alone improved my ride so much. I think I just kind of winged it when I first started riding and never changed my stance since. The second year I did this camp was similar except I pushed myself even farther. I'm not sure there's any greater feeling than totally conquering a fear. I was SO afraid to try the jumps that I didn't even consider it a skill I wanted to work on that weekend, but once we arrived at our cozy private park with the support of all my fellow lady campers I was like, "what the fuck! Let's DO THIS!" With everyone cheering and yelling "GET IT GIRL!" it's impossible to feel unsure of yourself. This year camp is the last weekend in March, I'm already signed up and I CAN'T WAIT!
|learning how to ollie!|
|I had never even tried a jump before this weekend!|
The other amazing thing about OPS are the swag bags. Holy moly, the SWAG! Oakley does not disappoint with a duffel bag full of goggles, sunglasses, hats, sports bra, snacks, bath and body products, yoga mat, etc. It's like Christmas.
Similar to OPS, we started LR learning very simple things about how a piano is structured and moved on to learning chords and how to actually play things that sound nice! Nicole Lagace went above and beyond as a teacher, making us a keyboard instruction book and even a mixed CD full of songs with good keyboard parts for inspiration. It's hard to believe that in just 3 days women who didn't even know each other can work together as a band, write a song a preform it live by the end of the third day. Ladies Rock Camp this year is from February 28-March 2nd, if you ever had even the slightest desire to do this I cannot say it loud enough: DO IT!!
I could say so much more about both of these camps, they both truly changed me and I would do them both (and probably will!) again in a heartbeat. I will say that if you've ever considered something like this, but have been too nervous/not wanted to make the time/etc all I can say is DO IT! Life is too short, and you will NOT regret it.