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by roberta naas | May 4, 2014 | Watches & Jewelry
The “Camper of the Day” at Campowerment receives one of these three timepieces from the Alor Collection series of timepieces ($795– $895) as a reward.
For many, the thought of sleep-away camp recalls fireside chats, singalongs, and letters to and from home. But a new generation of campers are writing much different missives than their youthful predecessors thanks to Campowerment, a series of leadership and revitalization refuges where women get the chance to step outside of their comfort zones, dare to experience life differently, and refocus to remind themselves that they’re much more than just “wives,” “mothers,” or “employees.”
“Women are all about doing everything,” says Tammi Leader Fuller, Campowerment’s CEO (Camp Empowerment Officer), who launched the program two years ago. “We are so busy planning and thinking of others that we have little time in our lives for us. We may have career choices, personal choices, and other decisions to make, but we put them off because we don’t take the time we should.”
Fuller, a former Emmy Award–winning TV producer and stressed-out mother who left an entertainment career of more than 30 years to start Campowerment, seeks out traditional summer camp venues and utilizes them when they are not in session. With upcoming camps in California, the Catskills, and the Poconos, Fuller offers a combination of physical challenges (yoga and Zumba, plus hikes and rope courses) and mental enhancement (meditation, workshops, etc.) to help women “reignite.”
And though campers often lose track of time while finding themselves in nature, Alor, a Swiss-made watch brand with California roots whose mission dovetails beautifully with Fuller’s, has also devoted itself to the Campowerment cause. “We’re a brand primarily focused on women and one that values a woman’s time, so partnering with Campowerment was a natural fit,” says brand principal Ori Zemer. “Our brand motto, ‘It’s About Time, It’s About Me,’ aligns perfectly with Campowerment’s mission of celebrating and empowering women. This is exactly the type of organization we were seeking to show our support for women and our understanding that they need to make time for themselves.”
Campowerment’s physical challenges build community and long-lasting relationships.
Fuller admits that although it is “cabin” living with shared showers and bathrooms, it’s still upscale. “There are flowers in the cabins, and we make s’mores with gourmet chocolate,” she jokes, adding that the only rule at Campowerment is that no one is allowed to share what they do for a living for the first 24 hours. “Sweatpants are the great equalizer. We need to get to know one another as the women we are first.”
Each day at camp, Fuller selects a “camper of the day”—typically someone who has shared a particularly difficult story, come to a life-changing realization, broken out of her comfort zone, or simply embraced the concept of “time out for me”—and awards them with a watch from the brand’s Alor, Cavo, or 1979 collections. “I think Alor is revolutionary in that they cater to women and they are willing to make this journey with us to help women experience real time,” Fuller notes.
And although a luxury watch might seem an unlikely keepsake from a back-to-basics weekend, Alor president and Ori’s mother, Sandy Zemer, believes the brand can be a reminder of the weekend’s lessons. “Our motto is the key to our company core values. It resonates because taking time for yourself is essential to continue to feel strong and capable. It has made my own life of wearing many hats a real success.”
One of the key strategies of the program is to get campers to realize that they are not alone in their issues, bringing them together for a weekend that will resonate long after they’ve left Fuller’s friendly confines. “Camp is about stopping, breathing, thinking, taking a leap of faith, and putting your trust in yourself and others for three and a half days,” she says. “[It] will have you thinking differently when you leave.”
Brannan Sheridan, a recent California camper, echoes Fuller’s mission statement. “You would have to go to so many different people to get the kind of counseling and encouragement you get from all of the instructors during the three-day weekend,” she says. “You have it all in one place here, and other women who share and support you. What I left Campowerment with was deeper and more lasting than a simple getaway. It turned out to be one of the most liberating, thought-provoking weekends I’ve ever had.”
photography courtesy of alor