By Sarah Shemkus, JAWS communications co-chair
I will be easy to spot at the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) this year. I will be the one toting around an adorable (I know, I know — that’s not exactly proper journalistic objectivity) baby girl in a JAWS onesie. And I will almost certainly not be the only mother there managing child care while taking advantage of all the sessions, talks and networking CAMP has to offer; over the years I have seen fellow CAMPers making the rounds with infants, toddlers and even teens.
Not every professional conference makes women feel so comfortable bringing their family life quite literally to the table, but CAMP is not just any conference. It’s not just the practicalities — though I am quite confident that there will always be a pair of ready hands happy to grab my girl for a moment if I need to greet a colleague or take a note — that make me willing, eager even, to bring my daughter to Roanoke.
JAWS is an accomplished collection of women journalists who can offer no end of motivation and guidance; there’s no better place than CAMP to feel professionally inspired. As a new mother, I look forward to spending time with so many women who have negotiated career and child-rearing before me. But I also look forward to immersing my daughter, young as she may be, in an environment where there is no debate about the proper role of women in the world — an environment composed entirely of women who know who they are and what they are capable of.
She looks forward to meeting you all in Roanoke.