#HFGather: A Quick Jolt of Inspiration to Remind Us Why We Do This (Kids) and a Summer Camp Reunion to Remind Us How We Do It (Together)

May 9, 2023 | HFGather, Podcasts, The Highlights Foundation Experience

If you missed the live session, you can watch it here.
Please note: closed captions are being added to the video below. When they are finished, you can see them by hovering over the bottom of the video and choosing the “CC” icon.

A Jolt of Inspiration, Indeed!

Program Director Alison Green Myers opened this #HFGather with an inspiring mini-keynote celebrating this creative life, with echoes back to the Highlights Foundation’s first summer writers’ workshop at the Chautauqua Institution and reflections on moving the summer camp experience to the Barn at Boyds Mills.

First, the History: “Rich and Righteous Lectures”

Alison said that creative magic (in the form of rich and righteous lectures, generous mentorship, and community) continues in our Summer Camps today.

A Story About a Banana, and This Creative Life

Alison told a heartfelt story that is shaping her own life and self as it unfolds.

She went on to say, “Creatives can’t keep themselves from telling stories. We make meaning through our hands and our hearts. Who else has the heart for it? We do.”

Finally, a goosebump moment: “If you are called to open your heart to this creative life — do it. Reach out, grow through it, observe and learn. Create the stories that your heart knows how to tell.”

A Celebration of How We Do This Together with 3 Camp Alums

After this powerful beginning, Highlights Foundation Marketing Director Christina Ousouljoglou took over.  She explained how while inspiration can remind of us why we do this hard job of creating for kids, being together is practically how we get through the ups and downs of this industry (and this life).

She then introduced three panelists: Daria Peoples, Harlan DeChamps and Judie Offerdahl. All three are alums of Summer Camp, and shared their experiences of togetherness with the group: mentorship, community, and support–all gleaned from Summer Camp and beyond.

Daria Peoples

Daria went to Summer Camp with her mind and heart open, looking to make a shift during a particularly difficult time in her life. Community and mentorship made a real difference for her.

She’s now on faculty, and loves being a part of creating that experience for others.

She also feels lucky to have had a mentorship experience with the late Floyd Cooper at the Highlights Foundation: “Floyd shared his wisdom from a place of equality. I think it’s important for me to extend that to the people that I mentor.”

Harlan DeChamps

A natural introvert, Harlan talked about the people she met at Camp and the community she found there:

  • Fellow campers: with similar goals you can connect and have meaningful conversations throughout the week.
  • Instructors: “There is no where else that you can be so close to your instructors,” having casual conversations over meals and learning outside of a lecture.
  • The Highlights crew: “Everyone at Highlights just treats you like family.”

Judie Offerdahl

Judie has been to Camp multiple times and finds that one of the most valuable things is that, “When you come into community at Highlights you can ask questions and get answers from all different perspectives. Then you bring community home with you.”

She thinks one reason Camp in particular is great because you can, “work an idea, practice it, and get feedback” all in the same week.

Ready For More Inspiration with this Community?

Learn more about our Summer Camps and sign up.  If you have specific questions about Summer Camp or other offerings at the Highlights Foundation, please feel free to ask.

If you’re already a part of our Highlights Foundation community, tell us your own Highlights Foundation experience or provide a testimonial.

Listen to a podcast version of the #HFGather:

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.