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Community Highlights: Meet Kelly Cirone of Camp Wildling

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Cirone.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m a yoga teacher and I was looking for retreat venues when I found an opportunity to rent out an entire retreat center in the Ozarks. I’d always dreamed of offering a getaway for adults that fused some of the experiences I love the most – the joy of summer camp, the wonder of festivals, and the depth charge of spiritual retreats. I put the idea out to my circle of friends and students, who responded very enthusiastically, so I went for it. We sold out of first camp within weeks. I hired a staff of about ten assistants and teachers to lead workshops in things like yoga, art, meditation, and self-care.

Within months of selling out camp, the pandemic arrived and almost everything changed. We had originally planned to hold the retreat in June of 2020 but we pushed it back until August. We offered campers the opportunity to defer their tickets to 2021 or to join us in August. Half deferred and half came in August. We worked really hard to make everything as safe as possible, and in spite of all the challenges, we held a gorgeous and simple camp for about 25 people. We knew camp was going to be a really special experience, but that reality really set in while we were there. Because we’d all been through so much collectively and personally in 2020, camp felt like the ultimate oasis from all of that stress. We just to be together in the forest and the let the rest fall away for little while.

With the knowledge we gained from First Camp (our name for our 2020 group), we set out to make the camps in 2021 even more spectacular. We turned the giant covered camp pavilion into a beautiful yoga shala with ceiling drapes and sheer panels, we created a light installation in the grove of trees by the river, we lead night hikes, we meditated on the banks of the Meramec river. It’s really quite remarkable. Our camp in June of 2021 sold out within weeks, as did our camp in August. Now we’re setting our sights on a very special autumn camp in October.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Camp Wildling?
Camp Wildling is a very special sleepaway camp for adults located deep in the forest of the upper Missouri Ozarks on the headwaters of the Meramec River. We offer a full schedule of conscientiously curated classes and experiences. Guests may choose to do as many as they’d like or do something completely different. We offer multiple lodging options ranging from private rooms to primitive tent camping. We provide lovely vegetarian meals. There are miles of hiking trails, kayaks for river adventures, and caves and sacred mounds to visit. Attendance is capped to just under 50 people to ensure space for social distancing. The vibe at camp is relaxed, supportive, fun, encouraging, welcoming, and creative. Imagine if you rented out an entire retreat center and invited your best, coolest friends to come; that’s how camp feels.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Not to take things personally. Be flexible, nothing is going to work out the way you envisioned and that’s okay. The right people always show up.

Pricing:

  • We have amazing prices. Private rooms or wings of cabins are $450, including meals, all classes and activities. Sharing a room or cabin within your bubble lowers the price to $350 each. We also have glamping, rv spaces and tent camping for $300, again this includes everything for 4 days/3 nights. Wow!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The first image, the personal photo, was taken by Suzanne Corum-Rich.

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