I wanted to share the impact of my experience at Camp CEO last week. I participated with 30 other women who were CEOs or executive leaders. We each were assigned a buddy—a high school girl—to mentor during our stay at Camp Winonoa in Hughesville, MD. The girls at Camp CEO are amazing. My buddy’s name was Ziggy, a young lady who I immediately connected with because she too is big into community impact and very high energy.
The spirit here is one of collaboration, mentoring and caring. We participated in presentations about sharing our talents. One morning, I was among seven amazing women who discussed cultivating our talents (or our strengths). Some spoke of resilience, determination, inclusion, positive self-talk, and inspiration. I spoke of leveraging our relationships for greater impact in the community. This gave me the opportunity to share the Helios story of how our efforts have made a difference in the lives of our neighbors in our community—and how we do it by acting as a catalyst in involving others through our relationships. This had specific meaning to them as they are all engaged in community service projects.
I was prepared for their questions, but what I was not prepared for was to learn so much from them. Many of these girls came from situations where the only way they will be able to attend college is if they earn scholarships. Yet in spite of the economic challenges of their families, they are determined, work very hard, and have already accomplished a great deal. Each of them demonstrated their own level of determination and resilience. It came out in conversation, in the activities and in the talent show during our final dinner. I was truly inspired by their spirit. These girls came together for a week as strangers from all parts of the Washington area, yet encouraged and supported each other throughout the week as they had many opportunities for public presentations. They brought a spirit of collaboration over competition, support, encouragement and engagement. EVERYONE felt cared for and encouraged. It was a truly moving experience for me.
One of my favorite quotes resonated with the group and I will share it with you: “Alone we run faster, but together we run farther”. These girls epitomize that and will make an impact in their communities. I look forward to the days and weeks ahead, when we all demonstrate our caring by leveraging our relationships in order to make big things happen in our community.