When you set out to create a conference that pushes boundaries and comfort zones, it’s scary. Will people sign up? Will they have fun? Will they get out of it everything you’d hoped? Will there be something there to build on for the next event? Will there be a next event?!
As Aaron and I sipped scotch and talked through last minute logistics, it was hard to believe that two years of conversations and planning was about to culminate in less than 24 hours. I was nervous, excited, and tired. Veryyyyyy tired.
I had started my journey to Oklahoma from Austin at 4am Thursday (Sept 21, 2017) morning, and had spent the morning oscillating between conversations with friends and family to stay awake, and conversations with Custom Ink to work through logistics on a delayed delivery (they ended up epicly couriering shirts to us from a same-day screening in Dallas because their shirt supplier’s delivery was late). The on-time delivery, by the way, ended up costing Custom Ink more than we paid — they’ll have every one of my t-shirt orders from now on as a result.
By 12pm Aaron and I were riding through camp, getting coordinates for a scavenger hunt, doing a trip through facilities, and taking inventory for the next day.
By 9pm we were drinking scotch, writing camper missions, stuffing t-shirt bags, and checking camper arrival and departure times.
By 11pm I was passed out in my tent getting some much needed shut-eye for the super fun weekend of disconnection and friendships ahead.
Friday morning after a few last pieces of business, Aaron, Xavier, and I were in place welcoming our guests for the first ever Camp Press. People were eager to get there, as many arrived an hour ahead of time.
Over the next 2 ½ days we spent time laughing around the fire, doing one-armed zip-line maneuvers, hiking, sleeping, canoeing, swimming, singing, improv-ing, cooking, chainsawing, petting dogs, and bonding. Some conversations were serious, most were lighthearted and fun. Almost all had nothing to do with technology.
During the weekend, we even found out some of our fellow campers had some extraordinary talents. For instance, Jason was modest when he said he likes to cook. The guy could be a 5-star chef at an upscale restaurant. Nayt is a jack of all trades when it comes to playing music and camp cooking. And, who knew that we had a published author in our midst!
Everyone had an awesome time connecting and creating a place that was really nice to call home for a weekend, and our sponsors (Pantheon, DreamHost, and WPEngine) really pulled through to help finance and support this first event.
Here’s to much more in 2018.