Magic In The Woods
by Ann Dorn
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achel Ford is passionate about summer camp. The founder of Souldust, a community of teachers, retreat leaders and individuals interested in expansion and growth, Ford says she loved everything about the experience, from the outdoors and playful energy of the cabins, to the s’mores and campfires in the evening. “I grew up in summer camp. My father taught camps when I was younger, and then I was a camp counselor for years during high school,” Ford explains. Her love of camp led her to recreate the experience for grown-ups: Souldust is hosting a summer camp for adults from April 21-24 that will take many of Ford’s camp favorites such as trails, beaches and cabin competitions and combine them with introductory “ soul work” experiences such as meditation, art based on dreams, chakra energy, and yoga for anxiety. The upcoming Camp Souldust, titled “Magic in the Woods,” is the third and largest of Souldust’s annual camps so far, with over 200 participants expected to attend. Ford is excited at the scale of the camp and the line-up of over a dozen experienced teachers coming in to lead workshops. “It’s the perfectly sized camp, big enough to have diversity, but intimate enough that we can truly form a community vibe.” In many ways, it appears her life has come full circle from the young woman who fell in love with summer camp. Between teenage counselor and Camp Souldust, a lot of life happened. Before she became the founder of Souldust, Ford found herself making all the responsible choices: drop out of art school to raise a child, get an MBA, fast-track career path to software company vice president. It was an impressive trajectory from most perspectives, but something was missing. “Around 38 years old, I had what I call the ‘Talking Heads my God how did I get here?’ typical mid-life crisis about what the hell I was doing with my life,” Ford says. Her soul-searching led to the creation of a list of random things that lit her up, such as creativity, world culture, mythology,