“You’d Love Them": The Faces of the Women in Camp Summit

“You’d Love Them": The Faces of the Women in Camp Summit


This December, over 120 women and non-binary folks came together outside Chicago for the Women in Camp Summit. Over 3 days, this group of camp professionals grew, learned, and laughed together. Starting with a blooming opening session, the summit sprouted with content, several puzzles, and among all the blooming flowers, great presenters that made a lasting impression. 

Over 120 people filled into 4 sessions during each breakout time. Before each session, a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) washed over my cluster of friends as we looked at which to go to next. (There were SO many good ones.) As I reflect on my time with these powerful people, I wish I could personally introduce you to the following speakers. They are brilliant and they are enthusiastic about this industry. They give us the tools to keep growing. 

Often after meeting people in a professional development setting, we travel home, and as we’re sharing with others about the experience we utter the words, “Oh you’d LOVE them.” (Just me? Okay.) As I cannot show up at your home with all of them, please allow this to make do. These are just some of the names that made WIC a worthwhile stop in the camp conference circuit. 

Mandi+BakerMandi Baker: Mandi Baker mixed sciences with camp and gave us glitter. No, seriously. Mandi presented on self-care and body diversity in the outdoors. Her research gave the audience a way to validate their experiences through data. Mandi taught her audience the foundations of the sociology of women, ethics of care, and changing the narrative of self-care and self-soothing. 

My big takeaways from Mandi’s sessions: 

  • Ethics of care: research that says “women will put others first. Children, partner, self + work” Men goes chronicle “me, partner, children."
  • Even if you share intentionally, once the story goes out it's out of your control.

Find Mandi on her new podcast, The Pudding

Kelly SchunaKelly Schuna: I have not stopped talking about Kelly’s facilitation style among everything else I learned from her. Kelly came in READY to rumble and share about her strong staff training and staff maintenance. We learned how to have hard conversations and how to put people first, AND we watched some Ted Lasso. I think I want to be Kelly when I grow up. 

My big takeaways from Kelly’s sessions:

  • Have your staff practice their feedback repetitions with their co-counselors so they get used to having those conversations
  • Presenting doesn’t have to be in front of everyone, it can be amongst everyone too. 

Find Kelly hosting our Day Camp Deep Dive call for TSCS members, speaking at ACA Nationals , and on The Camp Owners Podcast. You can also catch her on our pod!

Maggie MitchellMaggie Mitchell: The more I learn about Maggie, the more I believe that people are like onions. (Thanks, Shrek.) The more you peel back the more you learn and the more you’re tearing up at what’s inside. (I think that’s the lesson, anyway.) Maggie has an incredible and lengthy resume that stretches beyond the camp world. But it doesn’t include an assistant principal role. You can read about her “Rejection” session here. Maggie shares the lessons learned from rejection and how to redefine taking a chance that comes up short. You can read it here

My big takeaways from Maggie:

  • “What is the worst thing that can happen” can actually be a really short answer. 
  • There are ways to combat this fear that you can do starting today, as you read this!

Find Maggie with TSCS and read her blogs!

Gwynn PowellGwynn Powell: Gwynn is known globally and we are all better for knowing her. As the recipient of the Women in Camp Dare to Lead Award, it is no surprise you’d love her. Gwynn not only spoke about the novelty of camp, Gwynn was present and active in all sessions she attended. Anytime she shared, Gwynn shared impactful stories, asked thoughtful questions, and made connections with every speaker she listened to. 

My takeaways from Gwynn:

  • Take space. Just take it, and don’t apologize. 
  • Be open to laughter & find joy in the work you do. Taking camps overseas and being a professor can be hard, but both are joyous work. 

Find Gywnn speaking at ACA Nationals!

Leilani NussmanLeilani Nussman: I had the pleasure of being in Leilani’s Village (a small group of 8 people to connect with during lunch and dedicated times), shout out to the Rhimes Village. During these times we swapped takeaways from sessions and shared camp stories. Leilani presented on anti-biased hiring and understanding privilege in a way that made each person feel they could take accountability for their camp and the future of its staff. Leilani, who runs Anti-Racist Summer Camps, brought fresh and inviting conversation and perspective to every space she entered. 

My takeaway from Leilani:

  • Never shy away from challenging perspectives in order to grow.
  • You should always invest in the things that separate you from the ground (shoes, tires, etc.) (While this is a proverb, Leilani is the one who brought it to our attention.)

Find Leilani speaking at ACA Nationals or read her TSCS blogs!

So… do you love them??

Thank you to Women In Camp for bringing this crew together to learn and grow together. We took space while lifting others up in the camp industry. Because of this event not only did I get to learn from these incredible humans, I met many more who filled seats with me, lost bingo with me, and kept complementing each others’ camp stickers. 

EmJ is a TSCS Member...

Become a member and get access to over 200 camp professionals who are ready to have the important conversations!


EmJ Formal

EmJ Juszczyk
TSCS Content Lead

Leave a Comment