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« {Texture Tuesday} The Times 2 eDition | Main | Camp Shutter Sisters ~ Forever Changed Continued »
Monday
Oct242011

Camp Shutter Sisters - My Story

Hello my friends,

I am here. But I' not sure that I am really HERE. Does that make sense? I feel like I am slowly finding my way back to where I left off. But it's been a tender process. There is still a big part of me back in California, soaking up the love and warmth and incredible goodness.

I have all kinds of words in my head. Each time I attempt to let them out.... I fail. But, I must try to share this with you all!

My journey to camp was BIG. I am so not a traveler. I am a total home-body. When I first heard the news of Camp Shutter Sisters it actually scared me. I could not imagine being brave enough to go. Yet, I could not imagine not going! That probably sounds kind of strange, but it's the total truth.

Anyhow, off I went to California!!

I landed in Monterey and was greeted by my beautiful friend, Denise, who flew in from the UK. It was a dream to meet her in person. We have been connected online for over a year, and we talk all the time. But to see her standing there. It was like, 'is that really her?'
It was amazing!

Denise Balyoz

We spent a beautiful day together, touring Big Sur! Wow....so good!! We had lunch at the yummiest of restaurants..... The whole day, was just so perfect. Thank you for sharing it with me Denise!

We arrived back at our hotel..... around 6!

Time to meet the SS Contributors. I have to say, I was really nervous about it. I had not met any of the SS women. And I really did not know them online either. I had no idea what to expect.
It was complete MAGIC. I felt the most beautiful connection with each of the women. It was truly mind-blowing right from the start.

Myriam created this dream-like evening for us. It was perfect. We sat around this beautiful table, talking and getting to know one another. They had the most lovely 'Trust the Process' Mugs for each of us...and the most awesome Shutter Sisters t-Shirts. 

I still can't believe I am a part of this amazing group of women. Thank you Tracey!

And so it began.

Sunday was the start of Camp Shutter Sisters.

The 'campers' began to arrive around 2. And later that day, Tracey, Jen and Myriam shared a little welcome with us all. More magic.

Jen Lemen, Myriam Joseph, Tracey Clark

And from that evening on..... it's a bit of a blur. A blur of one awesome encounter after another.

Camp was full of discoveries.

My biggest camp revelation....
I am actually not a LONER. 
I simply had not found the right friends. This discovery hit me HARD. It really was life changing. At camp I was surrounded by amazing women, who totally got me.... It was beyond! And I loved it!

I wish each of you could have been there. I really have no words to describe the experience. But I will say, it was one of the most incredible gifts of my life.

cozy corner of the 'living room'

This trip was so not about taking pictures for me. Isn't that funny? You would think a photography retreat would be all about pictures. But i found myself drawn to the women that shared so bravely that I had little time for taking photographs. 

It was one amazing conversation after another. Women sharing right from the heart. Wow, it was completely powerful! 

I could go on and on. And over time I do believe I will have little pieces of the experience to share here. But for now, I will stop and just say, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. And that dreams really do come true....Over and Over and OVER again.

Before I sign off, one last image, compliments of Chris. Here I am, with all of the beautiful SS contributors. Wow, what a blessing. 

Kim Klassen, Jen Lemen, Kristin Zecchinelli, Paige Balcer, Tracey Clark, Meredith Winn, Tammy Lee Bradley, Xanthe Berkeley, Chris Sneddon

xxo,

p.s. I will be back with a short and sweet TT post later. I know I missed sending out your weekend texture. I will make it up to you. I promise.

p.s.s. My Art of Texture - Secrets Revealed class begins tomorrow. There's still time to sign up.....if you wish....

Reader Comments (26)

Wow~ What an enviable experience. I am so needing some sisterhood. It is lovely to hear of your trip.
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn
What a lovely post...you captured the essence of camp so well.
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterannie
So love reading and viewing photos from Camp Shutter Sisters - thanks for sharing
I so wanted to be there but with the journey I am on with BC this year has been on hold for me
Hope to be one of the lucky ones to attend next Camp - crossing fingers that it is on East Coast or even in midwest
I felt the sisterhood when I attended Snap Happy Hour in NYC in Nov of 2010!!
Thanks for sharing - Peace love photography
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarlene
Kim, you captured camp so beautifully. After taking one of your classes and receiving your weekly texture emails, it was wonderful to finally meet you in person.
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen
It was such a pleasure to meet you, to share the RadLab love, and to be enveloped in the loving, supportive environment that you all created. I am glad you are brave and traveled despite your fears. I am grateful for your sharing you with us. Love, love, love, Siobhan Wolf
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan Wolf
Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing!
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToni
I completely agree with your post. It was amazing to find so many women that just got me and one of my favorite loves (photography). What a fantastic group of women....forever friends!
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah W.
It was such a pleasure to meet you and the rest of the sisters. I honestly thought you knew all the SS contributors. You all seemed so connected. I guess when you share a passion and are warm and kind (like you all are), those connections grow quickly. I love the photos that you shared above. They are beautiful! Thank you for inspiring me each week. xoxo-Kristina
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristina
Welcome back, Kim! I'm so glad your experience was such a profound blessing! Can't wait to hear/see more about it!
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJune Scott
Oh Kim,

This is so touching. I've been to events like this with other wonder liked minded women. Truly it's like none other.

Thanks for trying to share this amazing time you had. Treasured memories you'll cherish forever!
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
oh Kim, what a gift you were to all of us! so amazing meeting you, connecting, laughing...all of it. every last bit of it.
so much love to you and I can't wait until the next time!!
xoxoxo
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstefanie renee
I understand what you mean by having all these words in your head and being unable to put them down. Thanks for sharing your trip.
October 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNadege
kim! heartfelt joy at hearing how you have finally found your TRIBE. it's imperative. like air. i loved being with you and hearing your story from your lips to my ears, i will never forget it. can i come to canada and see you sometime? i miss you too much! x
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhillary
What a beautiful story!
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy
Love this, love you! x.
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXanthe
what an amazing story, thanks for sharing it.
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchelle
oh kim. that sounds like an amazing experience. i am so glad you had a wonderful time. that would be a great camp to go to.
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTraci
kim, you and i could have written almost identical posts. i too am a homebody. i too was totally scared to go to camp, to fly on a plane, to expose myslef and all my imperfections to 70 women!!! GAH! but wow, now that i did, that i pushed through all the fears and insecurities and was there, it was life changing. and you were such a sweet gift and surprise, i think i figured you for the shy quiet one, and you are so not! you are open and loving and funny and sweet and dang cute with your new blonde do. you shine kim, and everyone saw it. believe it. be it. it IS you. big love!
xoxo
kristin
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkristin
I love your words. I felt a bit afraid, too. Who on earth would willing join 70 other women they didn't know to have "fun". In my experience, women can be snarky, judgmental, and oh so unkind to other women. In my heart I believed I'd find these women to be just the same. But I to camp I came despite this feeling. And boy am I glad I did. I found other women who didn't care that my camera was a hand me down. That I was only just starting to embrace my photography. That I really didn't (and still don't) know what settings to use most of the time. That I was a beginner. Surprisingly, I met women who encouraged me, accepted me, and laughed with me--not AT me. WOW! What a gift. I am so glad we had a chance to meet and chat and laugh together. You are delightful. Such a gift to us all! Can't wait to meet with you again as I KNOW we will.
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Oh KIm, homebody here too. If it was just me and my dog all day long that would be fine. But this was a glimpse of what else could be. Can't wait to do it again. And again. And again! xo
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlifeineden {amy}
Your revelation about "thinking that you were a loner, but then finding out that you were just not with the right friends" was oh, so, familiar. I remember the first time I found myself at an art camp (mine was the magical, but now tragically now extinct, Split Rock Art program on Lake Superior) and experiencing what it was to like being with your own kind for the first time in your life! What a joy it is to live the story of the Ugly Duckling, and to find out that hanging out with other swans was exactly what you had waited, and hoped for, all your life. Bravo!
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue
Oh Kim, it looks like you had such a wonderful time! So happy for you, love all of these pictures! xoxo
October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly
Oh Kim, what a wonderful heartwarming post with its description of your feeings and experiences of the Shutter Sisters camp. I would have been so afraid to go to something like that. Fear of ridicule, put downs etc - I've had so much of that.. But the camp shows that there are fabulous people out there!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
What a wonderful re-cap. I wish that I could have been able to go but I'm considering it next year. All the stories I've heard have been so inspiring!
October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRambling Heather
Isn't it great to be among people who just "get" you .... sounds like an incredible trip. I love following this amazing journey you're on. So glad you included a photo that you're actually in -- you look fantastic, Kim! All the best to you & your family.
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