Adult Summer Camp! That’s what the Empower Summer Camp in Watervliet, Michigan at the Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center was.
And it was just what I needed. A perfect dose of running, fitness, yoga, a little blogging and making connections with so many great new people.
Sign me up for next year (Next years Empower Summer Camp will be in Roanoake, Virginia)!!!!
I like to travel but I don’t like the getting there part. It stresses me out so sometimes I hesitate to travel if I have the opportunity. Thankfully my travels to Michigan were seamlessly easy. I flew direct from Manchester, NH to Chicago. I stayed there for one night right at the airport and then rented my car the next morning to drive to Watervliet.
I was traveling alone. I was the only Empower Summer Camp attendee from New England and the only people I knew in real life were founders of Sweat Pink (Alyse and Jamie). I was a bit nervous but I always love meeting new people. When we open ourselves up to meeting new people we learn all kinds of new things!
I rolled up at summer camp after about a three hour or so drive due to tons of traffic to the Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center.
I was immediately warmly greeted by Jamie and Nicci from Sweat Pink taken in what would be our dining hall for three days and given awesome swag bags courtesy of title sponsor NOW Foods Official and a host of other sponsors like GOODR, Jade Earth Matcha, Takeya USA, Suja, AfterShokz, and Grassfed Coffee.
They then directed me to my housing for the weekend . . . Grandma’s House (haha). The accommodations were modest but perfect. I had a roommate, Tasha (Hip Healthy Chick) and next door to us were Missy (Getting Fit To Find Myself) and Heather (Relentless Forward Commotion).
We were provided with sheets and towels for the weekend and NOW Foods Official supplied a generous amount of beauty products-Shampoo, Conditioner, deodorant, face oil, face masks, toothpaste, etc. The rooms stayed nice and cool with ceiling fans and box fans that were provided and the upstairs had air conditioning.
After checking in and meeting some of the attendees it was time for our first run, a shake out to see the grounds of the retreat center and to stretch out our legs. The center has a limited number of trails so the run was short. We ran down to the little beach area and around the houses. It was a perfect start to the retreat. We followed the run with our first round of yoga and then dinner.
All of the meals took place in the Dining Hall at Ronora Lodge and the food was delicious in fresh. They accommodated food needs such as gluten free and vegan which was great. The first night dinner was followed by a huge campfire including s’mores. A perfect way to end the day, s’mores and blogging friends by the fire.
On Saturday we woke up early for a run sponsored by AfterShokz. AfterShokz provided each attendee with a pair of Wireless AfterShokz Trekz Air Headphones. I am sure to use these a lot! It was so pretty to run and see a bit of the sunrise and the mist that had settled over the grounds.
We were treated to Grassfed Coffee (Butter Coffee with MCT Oil) after the run which was delicious. After the run we had a Tabata Workout with Kasey (Powercakes). The workout was sponsored by NOW Foods. They provided us with pre-workout hydration. The workout was fun. I don’t usually do group classes besides CrossFit so it was nice to try something different although I am not always that coordinated (haha!)
I want to go back to #EmpowerSummerCamp! Find out more about adult summer camp here! #sweatpink @fitapproachTweet
After running and workout out we created smoothie bowls. The recipes were created by Anne-Marie (Fit Foodie Mama) using Now Protein Powders and other ingredients. I have never had a smoothie bowl before. It was quite tasty and the perfect after workout snack.
Then we grouped up to hear several stories of transformation from Jamie (Jamie King Fit), Cam Lee (Cam Lee Yoga), De (Faith Fueled Mom) and Tasha (Hip Healthy Chick). I loved hearing all of their personal stories as it helps to build human connection. Before lunch we had time to go and play down at the lake. Wendy (Wendy Is Taking the Long Way Home) and I agreed to meet at the lake to hit the paddleboards.
She and I discovered a mutual love for playing in the water. The lake was small and filled with lots of lake weed but that didn’t stop me from going for a swim out to the floating dock. I will go for a swim every chance that I get. It was just what I needed to refresh and cool down after our morning of working out.
In the afternoon after lunch there were several opportunities to choose from. The first was a guided meditation, the second was therapeutic horse painting and the third was Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap making. I selected to do Therapeutic Horse Painting (Did you know I used to own a horse? His name was Patriot). I love spending time around animals and this seemed like a cool experience.
There were only four of us who did this activity, Anne Marie, Missy, Betsy (Warrior Betsy) and myself. We started off by doing some “grain relays” with Boom our horse for the day. This entailed guiding him through an obstacle course. After that we got to paint him with a design of our choice. We chose the SweatPink logo and hearts and stars.
Painting a horse has some meditative qualities. You have to tune in to the movements of the horse and get comfortable in their large presence. I loved this experience and would highly recommend it. We also had a blog content creation workshop in the afternoon.
Next up was Flex and Flow Yoga with Nicci. This type of yoga is a blend of yoga and HIIT. We did yoga poses but also used gliders for some more intensive movements like mountain climbers. I liked this mix of yoga and fitness. A lot of this workout worked my core and glutes which was awesome. We finished off the night with a happy hour where we got to sample Suja juices and Jade Leaf Matcha snacks as well as to enjoy some cider and wine. There was also another bonfire that evening.
Our last morning started with a run again and was followed by breakfast then more yoga.
The yoga was led by Jamie and included a lot of balance poses. By this point my body was happily sore from all of the weekends workouts. By this point some of the women were beginning to head out on their travels. We rounded out the final morning with a closing circle where we shared our take aways from Empower Summer Camp.
I spent a lot of the weekend getting to know Rachel (Running_On Happy), Marcia (rundefinitely), Anne-Marie, Missy, Linda (The Accidental Marathoner), Erica, (Eric Agran) and Wendy. We have all been following each others blogs/instagram for a long time so it was so awesome to finally get to spend time with each other in real life.
It’s funny how even though we had never met before it felt like we had been friends for a long time! This weekend filled my cup. It gave me time for building connections with so many new people but also gave me time for quiet introspection.
I am truly hoping that I get to attend Empower Summer Camp again next summer. It will be taking place in Roanoake, VA on August 6-9. The women of Sweat Pink do such a fantastic job of bringing women together!