Hope you’re having a beautiful day!
We’re sending this to our amazing camp community, before we share it publicly in a few days.
We’ve made a big decision about the future of Camp GLP…
This year – our 5th year – will be the final year that we gather for camp.
REALLY IMPORTANT – This does not mean our community is, in any way, disbanding. Nor does it mean that we’ll never gather again.
Okay, so here’s what’s behind the decision, and why it is actually as much of a new beginning as it is an end.
The last 5 years have been, well, kinda stunning. We had a vision, a bit of a dream. As we shared at last year’s gathering, we asked, “what if we invited hundreds of people from around the world to come together, live communally, learn, laugh, celebrate, rejuvenate and play together?”
We had no idea if anyone would care, or come. But, we didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Some 250 GLeePers showed up year one (and not all of them were close friends and family, lol). Then 350, 375 and, last year, 400+ beautiful, kind, soulful humans got on planes, trains, buses and cars to come to camp. This year, we’re expecting about 400+ again. The depth of discovery and friendship, genuine caring, love, generosity and elevation has been beautiful to both witness and be a part of.
We’ve seen soul-deep friendships formed, romance and marriages, careers and vocations elevated, health and wellbeing transformed and acts of fierce, creation, service and devotion inspired. We’ve witnessed so many rediscovering who they are and what really matters. And, then there’s just the ability to step out of your everyday life and breathe again.
Every year, we work tirelessly to raise the bar on what we offer, how we welcome and support our amazing community, how we create a “container” that is safe, alive, inspired and offer activities and leaders who are there not just to teach, but to participate, laugh, share, challenge and play alongside us.
After last year, we started asking other questions as well. With the addition of large-scale collaborative art projects, we started wondering how to continue raising the bar, and whether we could even do that effectively in the context of a camp-style experience. We started exploring what was most in-service of our community, and whether what we’ve created and built over the last 5 years was the best container and expression to carry us through the next 5 years. We looked at the physical setting, location and time of year, and began to revisit both the possibility it offers and also the potential limitations.
We looked at how the lives of our stunning core-staff members – who, in addition to our campers and volunteer crew, are such a big part of the heartbeat of the camp – have evolved and changed over the last 5 years. And, we started asking how this experience, this setting and this time-of-year were working for them.
We also did some soul-searching on a personal level. Stephanie and I been thinking a lot about our lives, the work we’re doing in the world, and how we want the two to dance together. As we thought forward to August 2019, we also realized something that made both of our hearts skip a beat. Our “little girl” will be leaving for college at the same time camp would have been happening next year. We’ve got one kid, one shot at that final summer together and we wanted to do it right and be as present as possible.
What we realized, after all of this reflection and conversation is that, after 5 stunning years, it feels like the right time to step back, drink in the humanity and grace, the learning and love that’s been created, make time for stillness to really feel and integrate everything we’ve learned, and then open up the space to think about how best to serve and gather and help our incredible community rise moving forward.
We tend to look at life and work as seasons. And, I think what we’re really exploring is, what does the next season of our global community look like and how best might we serve?
What other containers might be created? How else might we come together? How might we better explore and respond to questions of diversity and inclusion, geographic access, physical comfort and ease? What types of places, locations, settings, accommodations and facilities might be better hosts for future gatherings? What times of year might allow for more people to participate? What might a new format, structure, curriculum or container look like? How much should continue to come from or through “us,” and how much might it make sense to activate and empower more people to organize and gather and lead through this next season (as we’ve seen many already doing on their own)?
What we realized is that these are all big questions, it’ll take time, space and perspective to explore them in a truly open, deep and considered way. And, at the same time, we’ve been fiercely head’s down on the development of a whole new body of work and set of offerings (you’ll start to see very soon) that is both incredibly exciting, but also massively demanding to create and develop. When we add all of this together, the answer began to become clear. It’s time step back and create the space to figure out what the future will look like.
We’ve had four stunning years and are about to enter our 5th together. There is so much magic, so much goodness, so much that is utterly right and beautiful and glorious and powerful and transformational about Camp GLP. And, no doubt, this year will be as incredible as the last four years, if not more so (yes, we’re still planning secret, even cooler and bigger surprises). With nearly half of our campers returning and half coming for the first-time, the opportunity to deepen into old friendships and kindle new ones will be as present as always. And, the workshops and mentors in this year’s lineup are like one giant bundle of wise, kind love.
We look at this year’s gathering, not as the last time we’ll all be together, but rather a season of calm, a time of reflection and contemplation and stillness as we make space for what the next season will look like to emerge.
And, while we’re at it, might as well close with one final thought and invitation…
We’ve heard from so many people and seen others sharing on social media that they’d love to come, but are waiting until next year. And, we’ve also heard from many camp alumni that are planning on coming back next year, but not this year. And, we’ve heard from many of you that you’ve got friends and family who are thinking about coming…next year.
This is actually part of the reason we’re sharing all of this with you now. We don’t want anyone to pass on this year, then only discover after the fact that is was their last chance to come. We have a limited number of spots open (we’re about 80% sold-out as I write this), and we’d love to see them filled first by our camp community, friends and family.
So, for all of this year’s campers who have friends, family members or anyone else who “just needs to be at camp this year,” but hasn’t signed up yet, now might be a great time to let them know this is their chance to join you and us in the gathering of all gatherings.
AND for our wonderful past campers who’ve been on the fence about this year or had been planning to come next year instead, we’d love to invite you to join us this year as we celebrate our final camp experience together in August.
We can’t wait to see you at this year’s Camp GLP!!!
We’ll be waiting, with open arms, big hugs, s’mores, songs, crafts, workshops, talks, walks in the woods and all the other yumminess you’ve come to expect from camp.
With a whole lotta love & gratitude,
Jonathan, Stephanie and the Camp GLP Gang!