Digital detox and mind-body healing begin at a Malibu sleepaway.
I’m not a big camper—not even as a kid—but after hearing about something called Campowerment, I gathered my courage, sleeping bag and pillow and took off for this new take on the girls’ getaway in the Malibu hills. (Think summer camp for grown women.)
Driving on PCH, a right turn up a narrow road ends 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean at the Sycamore Canyon property. I was greeted by Campowerment’s founder and director, Emmy Award-winning TV producer Tammi Leader Fuller. Her look was different than usual, complete with a clipboard, whistle and megaphone. “If camp director had been a major in college, I would have gotten a Masters,” she explained. It didn’t take much to realize that this camp was also a family affair; Leader Fuller’s two daughters, sister and 77-year-old mother showed us around the perch with 180-degree ocean views.
Let’s be real here…the facility is indeed a kids camp for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in the summer. The sleeping arrangements are bunk beds. But this weekend isn’t about getting spa treatments. Instead, personal enrichment, nature and delicious meals are on the menu (and there are options for vegetarians, carnivores and those who are gluten-free). Around the campfire with 75 other women, we listened to charismatic life coach and business strategist Dawn Andrews. She spoke, not preached, about simple ways to improve professional and personal relationships. Wine and vodka were flowing; soon, so were the songs—more “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” less, “I am Woman, hear me roar.”
Next, a classic chick-flick everyone could agree upon: Dirty Dancing. After the festivities, we retired to our 10-person cabins. Special care was taken to have an eclectic group bunk together like CEOs, lawyers, fashionistas and stay-at-home moms. Each of the nine lodgings could easily be identified with names such as Rage Against the SUV and Bunk O’Bombshells. Taking a top bunk, I was wondering if I’d sleep well.
I woke up eight hours later, fresh and hungry. Leader Fuller laid out a slew of activities from which to choose, including yoga on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, a designer clothing swap, an obstacle course which includes walking a fairly high tightrope with a safety harness and a zip line. It was easy to fill the day or you could do just one or two activities.
She also handpicks well-known authorities to visit throughout the weekend. The list includes top chefs, authors, doctors and relationship experts. (The only man allowed is an energy healer by the name of Ubi Sheikh.) There is cell phone service, but the longer you’re at Campowerment, the less you feel the need to connect to the outside since you’re busy connecting with the amazing women right in front of you…something nice to remember long after leaving camp. $975, all-inclusive weekend. Day camp and virtual camp available; campowerment.com.
BY SUSAN CAMPOS
PHOTO: CATHERINE SULLIVAN