The Best Thing I Invented Didn’t Make Sense to Anyone…but Me.

Rebecca Ryan, APF
Jun 10, 2019 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Maybe it was a midlife crisis. A couple years ago something in me shifted.

If you’ve ever torn a ligament in your ankle, you might feel a “pop” that signals, “Uh-oh, something happened.” I had a “pop” but it wasn’t in my ankle. It was in my psyche. And instead of feeling pain, I felt a wave of relief.

I realized I could stop running myself ragged as a consultant. Instead, I could gather wannabe futurists and teach them everything I knew.

With that “pop”, Futurist Camp was born. Camp is built on what I believe about humans and the future, and it’s the best thing I do every year. Here are three insane/nontraditional/heretical things my team did in creating Camp.

1. Camp is offline and in the woods.
Camp has no wifi. All classes are outdoors. And there are no Powerpoints. Some people can’t get over this and never apply to Camp.

But I believe that our addiction to digital distractions is short-circuiting the Big Work that humans are uniquely wired for.

So Camp is intentionally offline, slowed down to a more human rhythm: we rise with the sun; we eat real food prepared on site from local ingredients; we spend most of our time near water and in the woods; and every afternoon, Campers have free time to lie in a hammock (people need downtime) or compete in Camp games (people need relationships and fun).

Image for post
Image for post

2. Care — not comfort — is our top priority.
We don’t care if Campers are “comfortable.” Camp doesn’t have A/C. There are bugs as big as small birds. Campers share bunk rooms and showers.

Discomfort creates openings for new learning.

In lieu of comfort, we take great care of our Campers. The coffee is always on. Chef Pat accommodates food allergies and creates delicious meals and snacks. Every evening, our staff makes a new signature cocktail for happy hour and after-dinner we light a bonfire and offer all the s’mores fixins you can imagine. Last year we had coconut marshmallows. Holy shit.

And here’s the act of caring that leaves me gobsmacked: nearly all staff are Camp alum who take vacation from their own demanding jobs to pay it forward and help new Campers have an amazing experience.

Image for post
Image for post

3. Camp is demanding.
Camp is not vacation. People are paying us good money to learn something. So it starts early; Campers receive a care package full of homework to be completed before they arrive. At Camp, classes start at 7:30 am I-don’t-care-how-late-you-stayed-up-singing-campfire-songs-and-drinking-Jack-Daniels. You and your partner(s) have to find time beyond the ten hours of daily workshops to finish your group work.

To earn their Certificate of Completion Campers have to finish Camp Lakotah and participate in six months of webinars with guest faculty. To earn a Certificate of Achievement, Campers must complete all of the aforementioned and complete a supervised foresight project within one year of Camp.

So why do people pay thousands of dollars to be uncomfortable with a bunch of strangers in exchange for a piece of paper and a Camp badge?

Two summers ago, a high falutin’ consulting company asked me to do an in-depth interview about Futurist Camp because it was referred to them as “a good example of professional development for future leaders.” I gave a sincere interview, but no one can replicate Camp.

Camp is more than professional development; it’s a prayer that our current generation will get it right so that our next generation can have it better.

[Note: This was originally published in my email newsletter. Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cWJno9.]

NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc.

The Future? Let’s Go!

Rebecca Ryan, APF

Written by

Passionate about better futures. Futurist, economist, Zen priest. This is where I workshop my ideas. Also: http://eepurl.com/cWJno9 and rebeccaryan.com.

NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc.

YOU CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE. WE LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU. We are futurists, economists, trend-trackers, logicians, nerds, and good-timers. We work with clients who share our commitment to leave the world better for future generations. Visit us at rebeccaryan.com

Rebecca Ryan, APF

Written by

Passionate about better futures. Futurist, economist, Zen priest. This is where I workshop my ideas. Also: http://eepurl.com/cWJno9 and rebeccaryan.com.

NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc.

YOU CARE ABOUT THE FUTURE. WE LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU. We are futurists, economists, trend-trackers, logicians, nerds, and good-timers. We work with clients who share our commitment to leave the world better for future generations. Visit us at rebeccaryan.com

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store