By Casey Hynes, JAWS Regional Captain
When I came to the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) as an Emerging Journalist fellow last year, I was excited but also nervous and intimidated. Sure, I had seen the newsletters promising that the Conference and Mentoring Project isn’t your average conference (something I might have guessed when I read that everyone should come wearing their favorite big earrings). But I was still unsure of how I’d fit in or if I belonged among this talented group of women.
CAMP — and JAWS more broadly — exceeded my every hope and expectation. From the moment I arrived, every JAWdess I met was warm and welcoming. Journalists whose work I admired were willing to chat about career strategies and story ideas. The outpourings of support and advice were incredible. All of the keynotes and breakout sessions were led by smart, experienced women, and the sense of sisterhood was palpable. It didn’t matter if we were talking shop over cocktails or sharing our encounters with sexism. There was a constant air of camaraderie and understanding.
Whether you’re transitioning to a new phase in your career, looking for a job, or want feedback on your book idea, you’ll find what you need at CAMP. You can connect with mentors, learn how to broaden your reporting skills, and chat with editors about pitching them stories.
When you leave CAMP, you’ll be inspired, your love of journalism reinvigorated. You’ll also be a little sad. After spending three days with some of the kindest, funniest and most talented women you’ll ever meet, your return to the real world can be bittersweet. But you’ll be newly equipped to take on the many challenges and opportunities inherent to being a woman in today’s media landscape. Most importantly, you’ll have a deeper connection with your fellow JAWdesses. That alone is worth the trip to Roanoke.