STRONGCAMP Dallas – Missy Reed

When I agreed to go to StrongCamp I did it at the urging of a friend. To be honest, I didn’t really want to go, I was going through a little funk and was feeling pretty bad about myself and felt I wouldn’t fit in. I didn’t have the body I once had and wasn’t in the shape I thought I needed to be in, I had a 1000 excuses. But, I went and I am so glad I did! The weekend started off totally different then I thought it would, the women at these camps come to truly support one another, no matter what. The next day as we finished one heck of a workout, we sat around talking and sharing our stories. As Jessie shared her story it opened the door for us to be 100% real and honest, and that’s exactly what happened. She then went around the room asking us what Strong meant to each of us, everyone had a different answer and story but the theme was the same. Somewhere as women we felt unworthy, rather from our past or not being able to figure out of future, we all felt we missed the mark. We carried guilt, shame, embarrassment and some resentment at not being able to be everything to everyone including ourselves. We all cried together and loved on each other and for me eased the pain of feeling lost. I realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings, and I actually got a great deal of self acceptance from that weekend. I still carry that with me along with our stories. Most of us have gone on to be Facebook friends so we can keep up with and support each other. I cannot tell you how amazing it was to be part of something so wonderful. I have truly made friends for life from this camp!

Strong Sisters Forever
Missy Reed 

STRONGCAMP Minneapolis – Dayna Deters

I Am Enough…

I joined the Minneapolis Strong Camp in July, and really had no clue what I was getting myself into. I knew there would be workouts, and talk about fitness, nutrition, and what being a strong women meant, but it was so much more.

I’ve dealt with a lot of demons in my life, and to say that I’ve put them in the past and moved on would be like sweeping a dirty floor and leaving the dirt under the rug.

I believe there’s a reason for everything in life. Each struggle is a lesson to learn from and Strong Camp made many of us realize just how strong one person can be. I knew there was a reason for attending Strong Camp – and my reason hit me about 5 minutes before leaving camp on the last day.

You see, most of us shared stories of our “strong” moments in life – a moment or two where we had to fight to be strong. I couldn’t share mine. As everyone went around and shared their moments, I didn’t have the courage to talk about mine. So before leaving, I approached Kirstyn Brown, thanked her for the amazing weekend, apologized for not sharing my story and asked if I could submit my story instead. It was then that I confessed my hesitancy to share. The other women’s stories were so strong, and I was afraid mine wouldn’t be good enough. And bless her heart, she explained that everyone’s story is perfect in his or her own way and everyone’s story is still unfolding. And there it was – my ah-ha moment. I’ve gone years thinking that I’m not good enough. Years! Now that I figured it out, I’m able to rewind that story and replay it knowing… I Am Enough.

Strong camp isn’t just about being fit and lean – it’s about the struggles we all go through in life and how strong we are to come out alive. It’s really hard to put the Strong Camp experience into words, however, after all that was shared and learned, I do know that this weekend will be kept very close to my heart. I can’t thank the Strong Camp enough for making a lasting impression on me and giving me my
ah-ha” moment.

Dayna Deters

STRONGCAMP San Diego – Tara Thatcher

My name is Tara Thatcher. I met Paul officially when I shot with him for the first time at the 2014 Arnold Classic in Ohio. It was something I had aspired to do for a long time, and I am so glad I finally made it happen. Hair and makeup with Two Chicks & Some Lipstick, Valeria Nova and Lori Fabrizio, was a big highlight. They are so fun and talented, and make you feel your most beautiful, which is the perfect set up for the shoot. Paul is professional, and so fun to shoot with. He brings out a side of his clients that really showcases how beautiful they feel. We got some really incredible shots.

After shooting we chatted a bit about his new magazine, STRONG, and the movement and vision he had. He spoke with great passion about his message through the magazine and the camps. I was so inspired just listening to him. You could feel his passion, and how fully he believes in what he is doing. The STRONGCAMP sounded like something perfect for me. I have my own business, Perfectly Prepared LLC, and my clients are my priority. After exchanging some emails with Paul, we agreed that going to STRONGCAMP would be just what I needed to make myself a priority again.

I signed up for the STRONGCAMP in San Diego. I needed to go somewhere warm. Being from Minnesota, San Diego sounded perfect. I arrived a day early, to spend some time by myself and explore the area. I was so excited (and a little nervous) to meet everyone on Friday. Jessie had set up a meet and greet at a local sushi restaurant. I was so shocked at how nice everyone was and how well everyone got along. Jessie was the perfect choice to head up the camps. I knew right then that I was in for a really special weekend.

We met up again the next morning and started with a partner workout. It was challenging, and Jessie was super motivating throughout the whole thing. We learned so much that day, about nutrition, workouts, and got to know each other a bit as well. It was so much fun learning about the ladies that attended, about their lives and why they were there at the camp. I realized I was at the camp because I needed to make myself a priority in my life again. Attending STRONGCAMP was the first step towards towards that. I choose to share some of my story during some reflective time we spent together at camp. I didn’t even realize I was thinking some of the things that came out of my mouth. I was scared, but I am so glad I did. Many of the women came to me afterwards to express how they could relate to my story and that they were glad that I shared. We had a relatively small camp, where everyone really bonded with each other. The positive, upbeat attitude that Jessie led the group with was truly inspiring and motivating. Everything we did that weekend was handled with care, well thought-out and coordinated. I am so glad I met each and every one of the ladies who attended the camp. We all keep in touch.

STRONGCAMP was an AMAZING weekend, because of the vision of empowering women, wherever they are at in their lives and fitness journeys. Because of Jessie Hilgenberg’s amazing story, her strength, passion for helping others. And because of the women who attended. Who are all STRONG in their own way. Who have been through so much, but keep their heads held high and moving forward through life. I am so thankful, and so incredibly lucky that I was able to attend. That was my first experience with STRONGCAMP, and it won’t be my last.

So if you are reading this, and you are trying to decide whether or not to go, PLEASE GO! This is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself!

Tara Thatcher
Owner/Founder: Perfectly Prepared LLC