A Love Letter to Preserve ~ A BlogJam Atlantic Retreat
Dear Preserve Retreat,
Yes, I know the new name is a bit of a mouthful…but I prefer to think of it as something to sink my teeth into. That’s really how this last year of planning has felt as we re-built, re-structured, re-imagined, and re-branded our event for year five.
This year, instead of trying to jam-pack a conference with EVERY topic relevant to bloggers, we decided to scale way, way back and curate a line-up of a few, high-quality, timely and relevant workshops. It became about offering hands-on, meaningful learning, and opportunities to connect with one another.
Conferences can be overwhelming, even when carefully planned. It was important that Preserve Retreat offered balance between presentations and thoughtful moments to reflect. I love that we were able to sprinkle these moments throughout — with the help of some very generous partners, of course. I mean, who doesn’t want to kick-start a weekend with s’mores? hmmm? And Yoga at Hogwarts with Suzi was not just a highlight of the weekend but a highlight of my nerdy, Harry Potter-loving life.
You already know that I have a whole list of tricks up my sleeve for navigating conferences as an introvert. Whenever I attend an event, I give a sneak peak on IG of some of my tried-and-true tactics to network, make friends, how to steal away solo time to re-charge, and how to protect from the inevitable energy drain of extroverting.
As an event planner, it’s important to me that I incorporate some of these strategies into BlogJam each year. Last year there was a colouring table at the back of one of the break out rooms. This year, with a dedicated sponsor (Websavers, a company that I recommend and personally use), we created a whole corner with books, and colouring, and comfy couches — it was the perfect hiding spot for anyone to discreetly check their emails or update their social, or just escape from the small talk for a minute.
While I’ve loved every year of this event — with each offering something different and special — this one will hold a very special place in my heart. Maybe it was the re-imagining or maybe it was the gorgeous seaside venue…or maybe Oak Island holds more secrets than we realize.
Of course I am grateful to every partner who helped to build the BlogJam community into what it is today. Renée, Kerra, and Christine, our previous four years were filled with so much learning while we navigated the wants and needs of local bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, and businesses, as we truly planted the seeds for the growth we’ve seen in our community and local industry. Ali and I have only just begun to scratch the surface of post-event recaps, figuring out what worked and where we can improve. I’m so excited to dig in deeper and plan where we’re headed next.
Thank you to all for contributing your services, your ideas, your perspectives, and your hearts. Our community is great because you are a part of it.
Special acknowledgement to my brilliant and talented friend Michelle of Michelle Doucette Photography for beautifully capturing every tender, silly, and special moment.