Life of Yes! Sleepaway Camp

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Life of Yes! (LOY) Sleepaway Camp is designed to equip you with a way of thinking and a community rooted in you getting as much as you can out of your life. A weekend filled with habit-, value-, and courage-development activities, in an environment where you feel at home with people you just met… like summer camp for adults.

Life of Yes! Sleepaway Camp

As seen in the New York Times and Forbes.

Everyone comes solo.
Unplugged—no phones, no tablets, no laptops.
Everything—food, lodging/venue, supplies, schedule—is taken care of.

If you answer yes to one, some, all of these, Life of Yes! Sleepaway Camp is for you—

  • Does the idea of expanding your social circle sound appealing?
  • Does doing something for yourself sound unusual, needed, nice?
  • Are all your friends getting married, having babies, moving to the suburbs?
  • Are you only seen as a parent or a spouse, have you lost yourself by taking care of others?
  • Do you say yes to everyone but yourself?
  • Do you feel your relationships are surface-level, that there’s not a lot of substance to them?
  • Do you feel stuck in a rut?
  • Do you feel alone?
  • Do you have good friends but are interested in making friends outside of your social circles?
  • Do you want to belong, to feel a part of a community?
  • Have you done everything you’re supposed to do – the job, the condo, the schooling, the significant other – but still feel something is amiss?
  • Would you like to say YES! more?
  • Would you like to be around people who say YES! more?
  • Are you tired of feeling bad about yourself because you’re ______?
  • Are you tired of trying to impress others, of being someone who you’re not? Would you like to be yourself, around other people being themselves?
  • Are you looking for an answer to “What am I passionate about?” “What do I want to do?”
  • Are you ready to move on from and let go of past lows, disappointment, frustration?
  • Do you wish you had more confidence in yourself?
  • Are you tired of being fearful or of feeling like you’re sitting on the sidelines watching life pass you by?
  • Do you want to be doing something else professionally?
  • Do you have an entrepreneurial itch?
  • Do you find yourself constantly being envious of others’ lives?
  • Are you ready for a change?
  • Are you hard-pressed to think of anything you’re good at?
  • Do you think  you have a superpower or two that may be of use to others?
  • Do you feel like you’re treading water, constantly moving but never getting anywhere?

The Leaders

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Saya and Pete.

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DETAILS
REAL EXPERIENCES
FAQs
SPONSORSHIP
GALLERY (if you “like” the Mac & Cheese Productions page, you can see all the photos from past camps, instead of just a selection; look under Photos > Albums)
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Sleepaway Camp: Life of Yes! Eight (LOY08)

Afternoon Friday, January 23rd – Evening Sunday, January 25th, 2015 in Somewhere Magical

We will be staying in Somewhere Magical, about 90 minutes from Chicago, located on 100 acres of prairies, savannas, woodlands, wetlands, and ponds. We’ll all stay together in one building. You’ll be in a bedroom by yourself with all necessary linens included. Shared bathroom facilities. Meals will be home-cooked, family-style, prepared by the venue. We’ll all drive together from Chicago van-style.

Cost: $495 – includes all lodging, food, transportation from Chicago, activities, and materials. Questions/concerns about the price? Check out the FAQs below.

Apply here. Rolling admission.

Sleepaway Camps are curated one at a time, so if you can’t make this date, keep a lookout for the announcement of the next one, which will come out soon after the above weekend. Camps are usually held once each Fall, Winter, and Summer.

Real Experiences

From Campers’ Loved Ones
“It was just the jolt she needed to get out of complacency.”

From Campers

A camper blogs about her experience

“I just wanted to thank you guys for such an amazing weekend. I did things I have never done this weekend, spoke about things I have never shared with anyone and I did it all with people I just met and I didn’t even know anyone’s last name. You guys are amazing and so brave and so real, it makes it so easy to do the same when you have others doing it with you. You are both really helping people change and it’s an amazing gift to give to adults. I had the best weekend ever and made new friends which is something that has really been missing in my life. I just can’t thank you enough!!”

“I signed up for LOY to spend some still time with myself and nature, grow and learn about myself, get back to the place in my childhood where I laughed and had fun, and meet others who want to do the same… and that’s just what I got! Saya and Pete were made to host a weekend like this. They did a spectacular job of making me (and I’m sure everyone else) feel as comfortable as possible, and never feel forced to do anything outside of our comfort zone. The activities were fun but also surprisingly good at getting me to reflect deeply on a lot of things about myself. Despite any differences, I found so many similarities with the other campers and everyone was incredibly nice. Like, REALLY nice! And supportive, as were Saya and Pete. We created so many memories and inside jokes and therefore, our own little LOY community! Someplace Magical was a great place to connect with nature and myself and disconnect from all the ringing and buzzing of the life of technology that we left behind, but didn’t feel lacking or boring in the least. I would highly suggest LOY, without hesitation!”

“When I left for Sleepaway camp, I felt like my mind was a snow globe, with a thousand snowflake ideas swirling around. When I left, I felt like the snowflakes had settled, and  Cinderella’s Castle had appeared in the middle. What I needed to do, and ideas about how I needed to do it, were obvious to me.  Somewhere Magical is so lovely, and so close to home, I kept thinking, “why aren’t there more people here?!”   There is such value to being taken out of a routine environment, and then being relieved of decision making and distractions. It frees up so much energy for other parts of the brain to use. I absolutely did not expect to laugh so hard so much! The “Work” is gentle and profound.”

“Definitely camp of a different character! It was fun, communal, and stimulating all the while helping us cultivate skills not merely for survival but rather for flourishing, for exploring, for forging our own path. It was all at once cooperative and independent, light spirited and profound, silly and serious. I feel so blessed to have taken part in the weekend and to have met such kindred souls in a magical place.”

“The Life of Yes camp was an amazing weekend.  Saya and Frank were amazing facilitators, the location was serene, and the accommodations were perfect.  The time spent was well balanced between the hard work that goes into personal growth along with plenty of fun and play.  The most rewarding aspect of the weekend was the amazing new friendships that were created.  I would recommend it to anybody who is looking to continue to grow in every way.”

“A LOY camp is an opportunity to jump blindly into a positive, supportive, friendly place for a weekend. Saya and Frank were perfect leaders and I felt comfortable and cared for throughout the entire camp. When it was over I felt sad and scared that the wonderful experience that I had shared with 11 strangers wouldn’t translate into my “real” life, but instead I’ve found that, bit by bit, my “Life of Yes” is becoming my real life. I think about what I learned on the retreat every day. I have never before felt this strong, self-aware, and confident. The LOY camp awakened in me an awareness of the person I have the power to be.”

“I signed up for the LOY camp because I was feeling alone and “stuck” in my life; I figured some positivity and motivation could help. As camp grew near, I became increasingly afraid that, in my current “stuck” headspace, I wouldn’t fit in with the ultra-positive, extroverted go-getters that were bound to be there. I was afraid I’d bring the group down… Lucky for me, LOY turned out to be full of people that, yes, were positive and motivated, but were also “real.” Everyone was generous about sharing what was making them feel stuck, inadequate or afraid, and each person did so with such honest, pure intention to improve their own lives and genuine care for everyone else. It was also far from being a gripe-fest. In other words, people weren’t sitting around, either offering up motivational poster slogans or trying to one-up each other’s woes or virtues. Instead, it was suddenly having 11 people you could talk to about everything and anything, without embarrassment or shame, and who care enough to understand and give you the time, encouragement, perspective and humor needed to provide motivation and hope that lasts beyond the initial “retreat high.”

“LOY Camp – you get an email telling you to show up at Saya’s place and that you will be going to ‘somewhere magical Michigan’ for a weekend in a big white van.  You have no idea who is going, what exactly you will be doing, and what it will be like, but that is all part of the experience!  At first, I was a little anxious about showing up, but after meeting everyone and once everyone started opening up and making connections (thanks especially to the awesome facilitators and activities) the atmosphere changed to feel way more comfortable and fun!  The weekend flew by and I left feeling re-charged, with some great new friends, and a refreshed perspective on life!”

Details

On Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? #LifeOfYes

If you don’t feel like you can sign up because you don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing or who you’ll be with, a LOY! Camp might not be for you. Part of a Life of Yes! is trust. Listen to your gut. If it tells you to run away screaming, we’re sorry to see you go; if it tells you “I don’t know why this resonates with me but it does and I’m intrigued,” join! We’re nice. Trust us. Trust yourself.

LOY! Sleepaway Camp goals

  • Discover, rejuvenate, reflect, and connect with people from all walks of life who share the desire to live a Life of Yes!, a way of being that fosters positivity, genuineness, passion, and community
  • Tap into the unique gifts, challenges, needs and potential of yourself and those around you
  • Leave behind routine and negativity
  • Create inspiring, genuine bonds with people who were strangers just hours before
  • Be inspired to live fully
  • Self-reflection and (re)discovery
  • Get out of any ruts you may find yourself in

What’s included

  • All food/drink from Friday dinner to Sunday post-lunch snacks
  • Transportation from the north side of Chicago to/from camp location
  • Lodging
  • All activities and activity materials

Packing list

  • Comfy clothes — clothes that you can sit on the floor in and move around in
  • Walking shoes
  • Warm clothes suitable for sitting outside at night/being outside in cold weather
  • Toiletries
  • Optional: book, music player (not your phone!), watch (since you won’t have your phone to tell time)

What not to pack

  • Laptops, iPads, DVD players. We collect phones when we arrive and return them when we leave
  • Food/drink
  • Bedding, towels
  • Wad of cash

Schedule

  • Leave Roscoe Village (north side of Chicago) Friday afternoon
  • Arrive at camp location early evening Friday
  • Awesomeness all day/night Saturday
  • Leave camp location on Sunday afternoon
  • Arrive Roscoe Village Sunday early evening

How we choose participants

  • We select campers based not on the order in which you apply, but on how you mesh with the rest of group
  • We strive to get a diverse group who share the common thread of being open to living a Life of Yes!
  • We do admit though that people who get their applications in sooner rather than later win brownie points

FAQs

Can I come with my friend, my girlfriend, my dad?
No, everyone comes solo.

Can I bring my pet?
No.

Who else is going?
The facilitator(s) and a group of people you don’t know and who don’t know one another.

Can I find out who’ll be there before camp?
No.

How big is the group?
Eight to twenty-two’ish

Can anyone come?
Anyone who’s 21 or over.

Where do participants come from?
Down the street and across the country! We’ve had folks from Seattle, Jersey, LA, Connecticut, NYC, Denver, Milwaukee, Maine, Pittsburgh, and of course, the Chicagoland area as that’s where Mac & Cheese is headquartered.

Will I be the oldest/youngest/fill in the blank-est that’ll make me feel awkward?
You might be the oldest, the only Democrat, the only vegetarian, the only parent, the only spouse. But you won’t feel awkward. We’re awesome at creating comfortable environments.

What’s the schedule?
Besides departure and arrival times, don’t worry about it!

What will we be doing?
Definitely no math problems. Other than that, just be prepared for awesomeness.

You take my phone, ahhh! What if someone needs to get in touch with me?
If you’re selected, we’ll give you our phone numbers which you can share with loved ones ahead of time and tell them to give us a ring if there’s an emergency.

How long is the drive?
Depends on which location we go to — all are under three hours from Chicago.

If it makes logistical sense for me to meet you at the camp—i.e., I live an hour from the location in the opposite direction of Chicago—can I do that?
The van ride is important for the group dynamic, as we get to know each other and discuss all things silly and serious. Ideally, you’d ride with us. But we’re also not going to make you drive three hours to Chicago if you live in the vicinity of the camp; we’ll make it work even if you’re not able to drive with us.

If I’m flying, what airport should I fly into?
O’Hare or Midway. Both are accessible via public transportation that takes you right to the meeting place.

If I’m coming from out of town, can you give me more travel information, like your address and how to get to you?
Absolutely! Once you’re selected and confirm, we’ll send you all the info you need.

Can I come for part of the camp?
No. It’s integral to the experience that you be present the whole time.

I’m a vegetarian/allergic to ______. Will there be food options for me?
Absolutely! Just let us know any dietary restrictions on your application or in your communication with us.

Can I smoke?
Outside. As long as you discard your butts in the trash.

Are there physical activities we’re going to be doing?
Besides lifting a fork to your mouth, probably not, or at least nothing too strenuous. Some folks choose to go for runs or walks in their free time.

Is this a religious camp?
No.

Can I attend a camp if I’ve already been to one?
Yes.

What’s with the number in the name of the camp, e.g. “Life of Yes! Five (LOY05)”?
The number represents how many camps there’ve been, so LOY05 is the fifth sleepaway camp.

If I have to cancel, can I get a refund?
There are no refunds, so please make sure you can attend before applying.

Other experiences like this cost a lot more money, often thousands of dollars more; how and why do you keep the camper fee so low?
We obviously need to cover our costs (transportation, supplies, venue, food, etc.) and pay our everyday life bills, but we are not out to be millionaires or take people for all they have. We want everything we do to be accessible to all. We love the diversity of our campers, including the size of their bank accounts. So we charge a fee that allows us to run a business AND that allows most people to attend.

What if I’m one of those people who would have a hard time paying the fee?
You should never let financial concerns stop you from doing something awesome! Apply, and on your application indicate your concern and we’ll be in touch to see if there’s a solution that’ll work for both you and us.

What’s the selection process?
You submit your application. We let people know if they’ve been selected, depending on spots available, how you’d fit with the other campers (we strive for diversity), and if you know any of the other campers. You reserve your spot via your payment. We head to Somewhere Magical!

Sponsorship

Interested in being a camp sponsor? Contact Saya.

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