Recently I’ve been reading Claire Ortiz’s new book called Twitter for Good, which is full of stories about how twitter has impacted the world. I know a lot of people view social media as a trivial distraction. Some might even think it’s an exercise in narcissism. I get that. Sometimes it is. But sometimes, social media can be used to do amazing things. In my own life, I’ve seen social media used as a medium for great things. I shared about needs for the orphanage on facebook every time we went to Haiti, and prior to each trip had a garage full of donations from friends. I watched the power of facebook help our team raise over $60,000 for Heartline’s maternity center in Haiti. I watched the story about a Haitian boy named Moses spread on facebook and now HE HAS A FAMILY . During the first few days after earthquake when our internet was down and communication was sparse, I watched Troy Livesay’s twitter account become the news source for CNN. It’s how most of my friends learned that we were okay. And I really believe that the advocacy of my blog readers helped motivate our government to allow many Haitian orphans who were waiting on signatures to be united with waiting family after the earthquake (including our own). I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, I’m going to witness another example of social media for good. In two weeks, I’m slated to attend Camp Mighty. It is an event that is related to the Mighty Summit I attended last month. The organizers of Camp Mighty have worked a charity project into the event. I was really thrilled to hear that there would be a philanthropic component, because the potential for influence is great. When I learned that the charity would be charity:water, I was even more thrilled. I’ve been a longtime fan of the work they do and I think clean water is such an important issue for our world right now. (If you haven’t seen the documentary FLOW, you should. It was eye-opening to me). In what feels a little full-circle, one of the things that I’ve achieved on my life-list that I’m most proud of is that Mark and I bought a well for a village in India a few years ago. Now, I’m partnering to help by a rig that builds the wells: The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo. Our goal for Camp Mighty is to make a dent in the $700,000 needed to buy a new rig. This means even more wells. This means even more people with clean water. This is where you come in. I would love for you to help. I’ve spent a lot of time this week trying to figure out a creative way to incentivize people to give. I’m not a baker, I’m not crafty . . . and I’m not particularly gifted at running fundraisers. But I do know that I have a lot of social justice-minded mamas who read this blog. I’ve enlisted your help in raising money for amazing causes before, from an ambulance for a birthing center in Haiti to funding a special needs adoption . . . and there has always been an amazing response. So, instead of a raffle or selling something, I’m just going to ask you to give. Because you want to. Because water is important. It’s life. And because you want to be a part of this effort, of watching social media band together and buy a drilling rig that we can then use social media to track as it builds wells. FULL CIRCLE, PEOPLE! I do have a little incentive to offer, though. I don’t have any crafty goods or design services to offer. But I do have this little corner of the web that gets seen by several thousand people each day . . . and I do have about 4,000 subscribed via google reader. Any given post is seen by about 10,000 eyes. So. . . for anyone who gives a donation of $50 or more, I will give you space in a future blog post to promote whatever you would like. (Within reason . . . this is a family-friendly blog). If you have a mom and pop restaurant that you’d like to advertise, or an etsy shop you want to promote, or a blog you’d like to send some traffic to, this could be a great opportunity to create some buzz. So. I hope you will take a minute as you are reading this and make a donation – whatever you can. Write rageagainsttheminivan in the comments so I’ll know who you are.
I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about my time at Mighty Summit three weeks ago. I’m finding it hard to know where to begin. I was beyond flattered to have been invite to this event, and confess to having some pre-summit jitters that were about 10 times as nerve-wracking as my usual pre-conference anxiety. The Mighty Summit is an annual conference for leaders in media, so the list of attendees was an impressive roster of women who have edited magazines, written tv shows, designed homes, authored books, and helped influence some of the biggest sites on the web. It was a little intimidating for a blogger who spends a bulk of her time writing irrelevant stories about spilling water or sneaking alcohol into Medieval Times. But this group of women were truly so amazing that within minutes of arriving, I felt welcomed and supported. Upon arriving, we each received a bag full of incredible gifts. I was pretty thrilled with the epiphanie camera bag that held our goodies. My friend Maile designed these genius bags to give photographers a fashionable option beyond the typical hideous camera bag. I’ve been coveting one for years, and now I have a pink one of my very own. You can read all about the Mighty Summit swag at Laura’s blog, and you can even enter to win a tote full of swag yourself. (Maggie and Helen Jane are doing giveaways as well.) My favorite items were the Tieks fold-up ballet flats, the Bamboo Dahlia Necklace By Feisty Elle and The Happiness Project book by fellow attendee Gretchen Rubin. The goal of the weekend was really simple: to make connections with each other, and to help each other reach the goals on our life lists. Okay . . . that’s not entirely true. Having fun was also a pretty major goal. The weekend was very unstructured, which was great because it left so much time for getting to know each other. In many ways it felt like a big slumber party. A big slumber party full of rather powerful women. The setting didn’t hurt . . . we stayed in the adorable Boon Hotel, which felt like a modern hipster summer camp. We were in wine country, so naturally there was some vineyard touring involved. And some wine. A LOT OF WINE. Arista Winery may be my new favorite.
On our first evening there, we had a campfire with s’mores. I don’t remember what we talked about. I do remember that I laughed until my cheeks hurt.
Our second day was devoted to sharing a few of the things on our life list with each other. This was a little intimidating for me because I am a weirdo about announcing my goals until I am 99% sure that I will achieve them. I was tempted to share some of the things I know I can easily achieve in the next year . . . things that are pretty nearly in the bag. But I decided to go big, and shared some things that I have dreamed about doing that feel a little ambitious. I’m so glad I took that risk, because immediately I had new friends giving me advice and offering assistance. On the last night, we all dressed up a bit fancy and had our last supper together at Applewood Inn. This place . . . wow. The food was incredible. The company was even better.
At the end of the night, we were gifted with a beautiful gold necklace by Lemonade Handmade, with five rings representing the five goals we had stated for ourselves. In all, it was a really incredible weekend, and I am so thankful for the women I met, and to Maggie and Laura for including me in the lovefest.