Photo by Ioan Holland

The World’s First Start Decelerator Turns 5

Ideas needn’t be rushed. Sometimes it’s ok to take the slow road.

Happy Startup Summercamp, the weekend that’s hard to put into words.

It’s been called everything from “a model of how the world should be” to “a festival of startups, kindness and weirdness”. And even “fucking bananas”.

And things like this don’t help….

Yes, it’s about startups. Kinda.

Yes, it’s about happiness. Kinda.

But most of all it’s a safe nest for new ideas and big life changes, where some truly special people from around the world get precious time and space to hear, and share, each other’s stories.

In 2016 it felt like Summercamp came of age.

It’s no longer just an event, it’s about a community growing its wings. A community built on friendship and becoming stronger with every interaction.

Shit just got real

What was different this time around were the stories of the impact people had made since previous camps. Whilst there’s always plenty of inspiration over the 3 days, we want people to turn this into action.

Here’s just a handful of the ideas that have been brought to life since being born at previous Summercamps and are now part of the unfolding story:

And many many more.

Change takes time

What is clear now is that it can take a year or two for some to find the confidence and/or support they need in order to make real progress.

Although many people come to Summercamp to learn how to get clear on their ideas, they leave with a whole lot more.

More than anything they learn about themselves. And in the process open up to a world of possibility.

We asked those that came last weekend to share a little about what surfaced for them, by getting them to answer the following question, in order to shine a light on the sometimes intangible value of an experience like this.

What’s changed for you since Summercamp?

“I found a school. I don’t have a recognisable to me idea/passion/purpose. But I now have teachers, buddies, mentors. I’ve never had the opportunity to rub shoulders with entrepreneurs let alone with people of a purpose driven calibre. But I now have a space to learn from beauties that see amazingness in other people’s nuttiness instead of constantly defaulting to ‘yes but’. I look forward to my graduation!” Rula Giakoumi

“It’s given me a priceless sense of belonging. The encouragement to believe my ideas are possible, but also the knowledge to know it’s going be really difficult. It’s given me validation for me and my passions, it’s provided me with 150 likeminded and generous friends and supporters. It’s provided access to all the knowledge I don’t yet have, without which it would be easy to give up on the dream. So all that. And as an experience in its own right, its was extraordinary. The euphoria, the affection and the fun made it probably the most amazing weekends I have/will ever have had.” Kevin Rozario-Johnson

I feel like a new person. As an entrepreneur, life can feel so challenging and lonely. Summercamp gave me the understanding, belief and tools to handle these challenges with a new family of likeminded, compassionate supporters. Bring it on!” Tim Bowles

It gave me the courage to think big again after losing my nerve due to slow progress. It made me feel I had found a wonderful group of people that were likeminded in their attitude to business and making a difference in the world and that I wasn’t alone struggling to find all the answers.” Sue Atkins

I came home a better version of me.” Adam Brooks

“It is really easy to go through life, all the while you achieve, you work you strive (you fail, you dust yourself off and start again) and you acquire a lifestyle along the way. Sometimes the decisions that go into the lifestyle are conscious and sometimes they are not. House, car, kids, business…..we are expected to progress, increase, amass wealth and possessions. House has to be bigger. Car has to be better, business has to grow and grow. Without bigger there is not progress. Or is there? Last weekend brought it home to me something that I had long suspected — that I am simply continuing to make myself more shackles to bind myself to a lifestyle that I am also seeking to free myself from. Well, I just woke up and smelled the coffee in my reusable Happy Start Up cup. I’m awake now. I’m setting myself free and allowing myself even more happiness.” Emma Del Torto

“Finding myself amongst a 150 strangers, that soon became friends. I got a massive sense of validation for my crazy ideas, realising they weren’t so crazy after all. After spending most of my adult ‘business’ life feeling like an outsider I gathered an amazing sense of belonging that I’ll treasure. Here’s to the ‘Crazy One’s’ as Mr Jobs said…” Dan Flanagan

“It feels as if my shackles have finally come off. I’ve been pushing myself and others way too hard for far too long, so I put a stop to that. Now I just flow. I’m a lazy twat with insanely big dreams and that’s OK. But for the first time in my life I feel empowered enough to actually realise those dreams. All thanks to the positive energy, vulnerability and kindness of the happy campers from around the world I had the pleasure of meeting (again).” Kai Brouwer

I’ve gone from a lone ranger to a virtual team of 7 and counting!” Rik Turner

“When I arrived I was asked what I needed from the weekend, I responded ‘Control Alt Del’ and blimey did I get what I asked for. The result is I feel different and have a different outlook on life, work, family, friends and those important moments in-between. I want to help others, I want to listen and I want to take action. This community of inspiring new friends makes me feel anything is possible. Thank you.” Natasha Jackson

“For me — move house, relocate to a new town, wipe a few slates clean, chuck some shit in a skip, write, stop wasting time, don’t be scared, take a road trip.” Louise McCarron

I started breathing — properly! Thank you Michael!” Jon Smith

“I learnt how to ask for help. The power of allowing myself to be vulnerable and embracing fear. The joy of feeling truly alive and part of a tribe. Thank you.” Gillian Caughey

“I’ve stopped 20 years of trying to do the ‘right’ thing. To be kind to myself and to be open to all the wonderful possibilities the world presents. I’ve experienced true acceptance in the most wonderful of settings.” Dan Woodward

“I’ve done this sort of thing before because I love it – whether it’s a weekend Escaping to the Woods, or camping and marathon running in Uganda, it’s always been great. But nothing quite like this. Somehow this was different. The people, the place, the conversations, the timing — it all just worked for me on a different level.” Sarah Jordan

“I found my tribe. People to share my ideas with and offer my skills to. What changed? A level of confidence, a desire to say yes to more things, to believe in the power of connection. I also reached out to my sister after being estranged after conversations at camp and we are now connecting again.” Sophie Kramhøft

Summercamp will be back again from 15–17 Sept 2017 for its 5th birthday. As of April 2oth there were less than 40 tickets. Apply to join us at www.happystartupsummer.camp