As a volée member of Oiselle, I had the opportunity to travel to Bend, Oregon this August to attend a special camp, dubbed "Birdcamp". Activities that were planned included running (of course), yoga, hiking, group sessions with information about nutrition, training, goal setting and general fun and bonding.
I am not going to go into many details related to our daily agenda, as I feel some of my team members did such a nice job summarizing the activities that we experienced. If you would like those details, you can see them here (from my fellow Canadian team member, Leana), here (from Regina, an "online" friend before camp and now one IRL) and here (from the Oiselle web site with some beautiful photos from the week).
What I took away mostly from the experience was the feeling of being part of a TEAM. I had never experienced this type of connection before. As a less than athletic kid, I was never part of a sports team, unless you count my brief stint on a youth bowling team.
|I am the one second from the left, not even looking at the camera. Don't you love the overalls? Tres chic.|
I played the piano, participated in Girl Guides, 4H (the homemaking kind, not the show your cow kind), and eventually played the flute in the high school band. I was not a runner, and our small high school didn't even have a cross country team. (Well, truthfully, it may have, I just never paid any attention to the sport activities). I do know it had a hockey team. Hockey was and is everything there. I also remember going to football games. Running events, not so much.
So, fast forward to 2012 when I was accepted to join the Oiselle team. To say that I was shocked that they had accepted me would be an understatement. I was thrilled, and I am still giddy with excitement when I think about the fact that I am a part of such an inspiring, powerful group of women.
It is very difficult for me to express in words what Birdcamp meant to me. To have the opportunity to be around like minded women who really "get you" is an almost disarming sensation. I felt completely included, and appreciated for the contribution that I make to this team.
As a 44 year old wife and mom of 3 kids who tends to feel like an awkward teenager in social situations at times, this feeling of inclusion was huge!
From the leadership team of Sally Bergesen,(CEO) Sarah Lesko(Head of Corporate Development and the super organizer of Birdcamp) and Kristin Metcalf (Team Manager), through the elite runners that attended camp (known as Haute Volée), including the incredible Lauren Fleshman, and with all my fellow volée members, I felt complete acceptance and appreciation. This is a team made up of women of all different ages, from different backgrounds, with different athletic abilities. Although we are different, we all share the drive to perform better (not only in running, but in all that we do), to train hard, and to not settle for any less. Add to this the sisterhood of sport that we encourage and we emulate on our team and in our communities. I have never experienced this type of atmosphere before with a large group of women. It was refreshing and encouraging, and it clearly comes from the leadership team of Oiselle.
The leadership team even took the time to meet with some of us to discuss where the team is going as this company continues to grow in leaps and bounds. I feel that since this is a company founded and led by women, and for women, it moves and develops quite differently than many other companies. For me, as a team member, I appreciate the differences, and as a result, I feel valued and very optimistic for the future of this company.
I may not be the fastest runner, but I am always striving for my best, in training and on race day. I hope that my passion for running can also inspire others to work to their full potential. Thank you to Oiselle for giving me Wings to Fly!