April 7th, 2008

We’ve Come a Long Way – Camp Baby

By Lori Dolginoff

After planning for months and going through some challenging days before Camp Baby even began, I must admit I had a few butterflies as I entered the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. I mean, I knew we had put together a fun and educational program, but still…

Turns out, I ended learning as much – if not more – then the mommy bloggers who attended our Camp. I know many of the bloggers in attendance have already posted their recaps of the event, (such as here, here and here) but I thought I’d give you some of my favorite moments:

A night of laughter – Kicking off Camp Baby with Bravo’s “Top Chef” member Ted Allen was tons of fun. It was a way for everyone to enjoy a relaxing night of laughter, meet each other and set the tone for the entire conference. My personal highlight was when I told everyone that breakfast started at 6:30 AM the next day instead of 7:30 AM. I almost had a revolt on my hands — but quickly put it down by explaining that was “my” call time for breakfast, not theirs –the crowd roared in laughter.

Eye-Opening Moment – As a communications professional, I’ve been working with traditional media for more than 15 years, but Camp Baby brought home to me how different things are now. When introducing a speaker, I looked out into the audience and saw more than 50 computers open and women happily Twittering. For me, it confirmed that the media climate has transformed and so must we all.

Hugs, Common Ground And Fresh Beginnings – Without any doubt, my absolute favorite part was meeting all the bloggers and learning from them. (Some photos of Camp Baby for your viewing pleasure — and, yes, I’m in there too…) Gaining insights and starting this new dialogue was very meaningful to all of us involved. I also appreciated all of the hugs (can never get enough) and kind words. I felt humbled by the entire experience.

So what were my key learnings?

· While having virtual connection is the way of the world, there is nothing like real in-person contact. Having the opportunity to actually speak directly to each of these bloggers was invaluable. I enjoyed every single conversation I had.

· When working with bloggers, I firmly believe that perfection is impossible and flaws will always be magnified. But as long as you are honest and transparent, in the end the benefit will always outweigh the risk.

· Don’t ever forget that mommy bloggers are unique to the general blogosphere and have their own unique expectations. While we didn’t anticipate it all at the beginning, we now have a much deeper understanding — which was the entire point of doing something like this in the first place. Ultimately, building what I hope will be a long-lasting relationship with these 56 bloggers was well worth it all!

But perhaps most importantly, Camp Baby gave me and my colleagues a chance to connect with these women in a real and meaningful way. I truly respect all of them for their unique perspectives and individuality. We’ve Come a Long Way Camp Baby and we know this is just the beginning of a long road ahead.

(P.S., Thank you to all the bloggers for taking this journey with us and for all of those that supported this program along the way. I’ll see you again soon at BlogHer in July.)

12 Responses to “We’ve Come a Long Way – Camp Baby”

  1. Liz@thisfullhouse says

    Hi Lori,

    I just wanted to take a moment to publicly thank J&J for a wonderful experience and for treating us with respect and kindness.

    Seriously, a DS Lite!?!?

    My online friends and I know that you’ve taken a giant step toward creating a viable relationship between bloggers and major corporations, like yourselves and still can learn a lot from each other.

    My off-line friends, however, are still amazed (as I am, quite frankly) that I was even asked to such an event and I am very honored to have been included – not to mention, be a part of such a large and powerful community of women.

    Keep up the good work, Lori and I’m looking forward to hearing more “good things” that happen from Camp Baby.

  2. Dana says

    I enjoyed the event and thank you for recognizing moms-who-blog as the driving force it is. I was honored by the invitation and to be in the company of such wonderful fellow bloggers.

  3. Chicky Chicky Baby says

    Lori – Thanks so much for the entire event. I was very impressed by the level of professionalism you and your staff worked at but also that you were all very personable and easy to talk to. I have a feeling we’ll all be talking about this event for a long time to come.

  4. Jane - Pinks & Blues says

    Lori, it was such a joy to meet you. I appreciate the way you handled yourself and the “chatter” happening before the Camp Baby event. I think that everyone who attended can agree that it was such a successful, wonderful experience. I am honored to have been included!

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

  5. Leeanthro says

    Hi Lori,

    I wanted to let you know that I took the baby in for an InfantSEE eye exam this morning. I was surprised to see that there were 6 providers in our town. The doctor was great and I plan on taking my older daughter in for an exam this summer.

    I’m glad to report that his eyes are healthy. But I would have never thought to have his eyes examined had I not come to Camp Baby.

    I’m going to spread the word about this great free program!

  6. Stephanie says

    It sounds like the event was a huge success! Kudos to you for reaching out to bloggers! My opinion of J & J has skyrocketed as a result of all the posts around the blogosphere.

  7. Mindy says

    Yes, thank you very much for the carefully thought-out and well-executed gathering!

    You should have seen me trying to explain the product marketplace at the end to the kids. I felt like I was shoplifting until I told myself to imagine I’m just restocking the house because we already have almost every single one of those products. It wasn’t much of a stretch. Still, they were all, “Cool – a white DS! Can I play my games on yours even though I have one of my own? I just want to try a white one.”

  8. Scott Jens, O.D. says

    To all,
    Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity for InfantSEE(R) to increase its awareness. To read commments that babies have already been seen as a result of my opportunity to explain this public health program at Camp Baby is astounding!

    Scott Jens, O.D.
    AOA InfantSEE(R)

  9. Adora Baby says

    hi, really good post, I am glad to learn this blog, the baby is badly needed special attention, so it should be more careful in handling

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