From backyard gardens to open fields, daisies can grow just about anywhere. So sprang the name for Jennifer Morris’s idea-in-the-making—Daisy Camp.
Morris drew from personal experience. In 2005, she and her husband divorced, and Morris was searching for guidance. Resources for divorced women were available, but Morris didn’t know how to best navigate those resources. Then inspiration struck. She envisioned a weekend retreat where women could go for great resources on the legal and financial aspects of divorce.
Morris has a background in special events and marketing. She researched divorce, interviewed professionals including career counselors and attorneys, read books, watched DVDs and talked with dozens of women about their personal experiences, and then drafted an agenda for a weekend event.
The first Daisy Camp was held in March 2006. Daisy Camp’s mission is to be a resource for women facing divorce to create ever-expanding lives. Daisy Camp invites professionals in law, finance, life coaching and child life to support women going through divorce. The team includes AJW Financial attorney Hollis Lundquist, Mom Enough and the Financial Planners Association. Camp speakers assist women in making the transitions Morris once struggled with by offering financial, legal and childcare advice.
Daisy Camp offers a weekend-long retreat, a one-day retreat and evening seminars. The weekend offering begins with a welcome from past “Daisies”—women who have gone through the retreat before and act as guides. The nuts and bolts come Saturday morning, when the professionals step in. Evening entertainment follows.
The one-day option focuses solely on legal issues and finances, whereas evening seminars center on a specific topic for each session. “Daisy Camp is about believing in possibilities and acknowledging that post-divorce life can be rewarding,” Morris says. She most appreciates the “success stories”—the letters and notes she receives from attendees that mention how Daisy Camp helped with post-divorce relationships, a career change or embracing a new lifestyle.
But perhaps the most important part of the experience, Morris notes, is the camaraderie among the women. Rarely in daily life do those going through divorce have the opportunity to connect with someone in a similar situation. These women understand the pain, offer a shoulder to cry on and can provide sound advice.
Kerry McCabe attended a one-day Daisy Camp retreat a few years ago. She still considers one of the women she met that day a close friend. “I didn’t know people who’d had a divorce experience. I felt so isolated and alone” says McCabe. “At Daisy Camp, I finally had people to walk alongside me who could identify with the feelings I was going through.”
Edina resident Kellie McConahay agrees. She attended a one-day retreat, and says Daisy Camp gave her access to resources she may not have known about otherwise. After years as a stay-at-home mom, McConahay returned to the work force, focusing on collaborative family law so she could help families stay out of court and have outcomes like she did. She advises those going through divorce to seek advice from a variety of individuals and to understand all the different options. This strategy helps women make choices from a place of empowerment, as opposed to reacting to something out of fear.
Daisy Campers view Morris’ efforts as remarkable and Daisy Camp as an authentic and diverse experience. “We’re really lucky in the Twin Cities to have this kind of resource, where women are supported, can get information and develop relationships,” McConahay says. Like a daisy, Daisy Camp signifies a fresh start.
Daisy Camp’s second weekend retreat of 2014 begins April 12. Daisy Camp offers retreat scholarships for women in need of financial assistance. To learn more about attending or volunteering at Daisy Camp, visit daisycamp.org.