In the last few months we have been sharing the stories from CAMPers as we follow up with them 6 months after attending CAMP. As the social impact evaluator, I have had the privilege to hear some powerful stories from CAMPers themselves. It has been a wonderful experience to talk with some of last years CAMPers about the amazing things that they are doing in their lives and careers since CAMP.
At this point I thought that I might also share my own story with you. I myself was a CAMPer last year. I found out about CAMP shortly before applications opened and I was simultaneously excited and worried. Excited because I had long been looking for an opportunity to connect my career to China again. Worried because the applications were due shortly after my baby was due to be born, and CAMP would take place when he was about 5 months old- far too young to be separated for 5 days.
I almost didn’t apply. So many mothers self-select themselves out of professional experiences because we feel obliged to choose between caring for our baby OR leaving them behind to participate in professional life. But I couldn’t stop thinking about CAMP, and how amazing it sounded, so I decided to challenge myself to participate with my baby in tow.
Shortly after I was accepted I began to worry about how the CAMP team would feel about me bringing a baby. I hadn’t mentioned it in my application because I feared that I would be viewed as less of a leader. It turns out my fears were completely unfounded. The whole CAMP team were so supportive of my participation. I really have to thank the team for creating an environment that allows men, women and even mothers with caring responsibilities to thrive.
Participating in CAMP with my baby in tow was one of the most profound leadership development experiences I have ever been through. I am transformed by the experience of CAMP. It was the catalyst for me to launch my career as a freelance social impact evaluator, something that I hadn’t had the courage or the confidence to do earlier in my career. Now I have a career that challenges me to do my best work in my professional life, and allows me the flexibility I desire as a working mother.
If you want to build your leadership capacity in an environment that encourages both men and women to thrive, we are accepting applications to attend CAMP 2.0 in August 2016. This is the last week for applications, so be sure to get yours in! You can apply here until Sunday March 6th