Towards the end of my time in LA (though I didn't know yet that it was ending), I went to The Unique Camp; a 4-day creative conference in the woods up above Big Bear Lake. Also coincidentally, it fell on the week after I quit my job, and the last day at camp was my 27th birthday, which I also shared with my "counselor." You really can't plan this stuff.
The Unique Camp was started by Sonja Rasula, founder of Unique USA. It was literally just like summer camp we went to as kids, but with alcohol (as well as some productive stuff mixed in). It took place at the YMCA camp up at Big Bear, and we all had cabins we were assigned, with bunk beds and cabin leaders, as well as cabin names, and dances that we all made up as a first day, break the ice activity. Typical camp stuff.
But aside from drinking and dancing, there were various workshops to attend throughout the day. Everything from photography to branding to raising money to crafting cocktails. Every tool you could possibly need to start whatever business/project you've been dreaming of, or hone your skills for your current business, and generally just kick ass at life. And on top of all of that, it's potentially the coolest group of people you'll ever be around all at once. I've never been so inspired by the level of creativity and drive in one given area. It's hard to put into words; and in honor of that, on our last night we all walked as a group in silence to tables in the formation of a teepee and ate dinner without saying a word. There is such power in a large group just sitting together, sharing a meal, with no choice but to reflect and just be with each other.
I feel a little selfish really, because I went at a time in my life when I couldn't give much to anyone else. I was lost, and I wasn't even sure who I was when I was talking to people, or how to answer questions about what I was doing and why I was there. But that didn't change the warmth and support I received from absolutely everyone I encountered. I hope that I can go back this year, or in the next couple years and give back some of what I was given that weekend.
Last night I got home late and checked my mail, and in it was the yearbook from camp. Flipping through the pages, I remembered the excitement that whole weekend held, and I truly cherish what a "unique" experience it was.