06 Dec 2023

Camp SparkPlug: Reflections on Connection, Conviction, and Celebration

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Jake Levin

In the world of our remote-first startup, my co-founder Andrew and I faced a challenge: maintaining real human connections in our digital workspace. That's how Camp SparkPlug was born. Nestled in the peaceful setting of Indio, California, this retreat was our answer to bringing our virtual team into the real world, strengthening bonds that go beyond screens and keyboards.


Arriving at the Zenda Estate, the venue for Camp SparkPlug 2023, felt like stepping into a physical version of our digital world. The easy chats and shared laughs during our Welcome Happy Hour and Opening Ceremonies brought our online interactions to life. It was an eye-opening moment – seeing our digital connections transform into real, tangible relationships. In an era where remote work is the norm, fostering these real connections isn't just nice to have; it's essential.

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Shifting Roles and Leadership 

This retreat marked a change for us as co-founders. Andrew and I decided to take a step back, allowing our team leaders to take center stage. Our "Kickoff" session laid the groundwork, but the true highlights were the sessions led by our team leads. Listening to them discuss SparkPlug with intelligence and passion was both confirming and motivating. The casual talks over lunches or in evening gatherings, where ideas and future plans for SparkPlug were shared enthusiastically, were particularly invigorating. It was a reminder that leadership isn't just about guiding; it's about creating spaces where new leaders can flourish.

Celebration at the Core 

Celebration was a big part of Camp SparkPlug. Whether it was recognizing surprise promotions or reviewing our company-wide achievements, these moments weren't just about patting ourselves on the back. They were about acknowledging our growth and setting the stage for future successes, reminding us of the journey we're on together.

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Beyond the Retreat 

Coming back from Camp SparkPlug, the positive impact on our team was clear. There was a fresh energy, a deeper sense of collaboration, and a renewed commitment to our goals. This retreat had become more than just an event; it was a cornerstone experience that's shaping our strategies and team dynamics.

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The Path Ahead

Looking back, Camp SparkPlug was a reaffirmation of what we're about. It underscored the value of our people in a remote-working world. As we move forward, these lessons in connection, conviction, and celebration will continue to steer our leadership and our company culture. Camp SparkPlug has set the stage for a future where distance is no barrier to building a connected, thriving team. It's a story of coming together, not just as colleagues but as a community with a shared vision and enthusiasm, a story that will keep inspiring our path ahead.