Thank you seems not enough to express my level of gratitude for my Camp Joy experience last week.
I just wanted to take a few moments and tell you a little about my story, and why that camp – really changed me on not only a professional level but personal as well.
Professional: I openly used my career thus far to move around the country. I grew up in one spot, and my sense of adventure was always kept in a box. So, once I graduated college, I used TV to see the country – stopping for two or three-year deals at a time. Over the past 20 years, I’ve met amazing people, lived in incredible places, and have told some pretty unique stories with my teams.
In 2009, I took a break from the business after spending four years in Tampa as an EP. (Bay News 9.) I traveled the British Virgin Islands and swam dozens of miles a day – living on a boat with ten strangers from around the world. It was amazing. Later that year, I got a call from the then EP here at KTNV, who knew I was overqualified – but knew I wanted an adventure. She offered me the 11 pm producer position, a step back in my career as some would see it, but a step up for me personally. I took it, moved 2500 miles away from my friends and family, and spent two years taking the then Journal owned KTNV 11 pm newscast to number 1 in demos.
After my contract ended, I was on the road again – and long story not quite as long – regretted leaving before the wheels even hit the highway. I spent time in Charleston SC, Denver, and Austin – all the while wanting to be right back here. So when Scripps saw fit to put an Assistant News Director position here, I felt like I’d been born for it.
But it’s been tough at times, and spending time with colleagues at Camp Joy really provided me with an opportunity to open up, talk, and listen to others as they offered advice and encouragement. And in many cases, I was able to return the gift. I totally get why you take us into the woods. If you think about it, when was the last time you camped, in a cabin, with a group of giggly people sleeping in bunk beds, playing? For most people, it was when we were children. And Camp Joy re-creates that child-like atmosphere – the atmosphere where we as humans are most receptive to learning. I thought that was brilliant.
So, I returned to work Monday re-energized and ready to be the best leader I can be for my team here at KTNV. I’m not tired anymore, at least not right now.
Personally, going back to the adventure theme – I was almost killed in a mountain accident in Colorado a few years ago. I used to be a triathlete, and in Denver, decided I’d climb a 14’er. Made it up no problem, but two severe storms above treeline made getting down sheer hell. Bottom line, it took a year for me to walk without pain again due to the injuries suffered that day.
At Camp Joy, I threw myself into the ropes course and found a me I hadn’t heard from in a while. The laughing adventurer. I returned home with new goals, and most importantly, even though I’ve gained 60 pounds since the accident, I was never sore – which lets me know some base fitness is still in there. My goal now – and I’m telling you because telling you is a big deal to me – is to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa in the fall of next year, and to continue climbing with an ultimate goal of trekking to Everest Base Camp in the spring of 2020.
As to what happens from there, we’ll see. But I’m no longer on the sideline in my adventure life, and I’m no longer limping along in my professional life.
I know it seems like a lot to come from a three-day camp in the woods with strangers. But if you’re open to it, and you’re ready to receive what’s offered there, anything is possible – in a newsroom, or anywhere else for that matter.
Sometimes all you need is someone to help you take that first step.