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SHiFT design camp

December 2016 SHiFT Design Camp

07 March 2017

December SHiFT Design Camp: Through the Eyes of Meghan Preiss

Aether wrapped up another successful week long SHiFT design camp this past December. This camp takes industrial design students and professionals out of the studio and into the woods of Alabama to forge relationships and encourage out of the box thinking, shifting from the digital world to an analog one.

“SHiFT to me is about self discovery, every time I go to SHiFT I learn something new about myself, or I get motivated to do something different with my life. SHiFT is where I found my leadership voice, it is where I found my community voice, it is where I build my future. Every time I go to SHiFT, I leave thinking, feeling, and knowing, my future is brighter. SHiFT has given me the confidence in myself and in others. SHiFT to me is not about your hard skills, who cares if you can sketch, who cares if you can build, or 3d model, SHiFT cares if you laugh, or cry, they care if you are a people person or a task person, they care about all of your soft skills. SHiFT cares about me in ways I never thought people could or would.” Here are some of the lessons Industrial Design student, fourth time SHiFT camp attendee, and writer of the above sentiment, Meghan Preiss took away from the experience. Click through to read about Meghan’s experience on her blog.

At SHiFT there was a lot of hiking. Paired teams covered almost 34 miles over the week-long journey to find things like shelter, a safe place to rest and eat. Meghan shares that “All of the professionals started with an Industrial Design degree and ended up in jobs where they never thought they would be because they listened to their gut and followed their passion. Our first campfire conversation was from Steven Gaffin who spoke about his IDUS degree and how he is now going to med school because of his passion.”

While hiking, Meghan recounts seeing a spot where ancient Native American bones were embedded into rocks. Owen Foster explained, “Native Americans tried to settle here, but realized that this place was not best for them.” He went on to explain the challenge and the theme of the camp. “Sometimes where you end up or think you want to go is not always the right place for you to be, and that is okay.”

One of the challenges at camp was to “find a spot that means a lot to your team, create a map and to lead the next group to this location.” Meghan recounted a place where her team had bonded from the day before, so they drew a map for the next group. Along the way the group left prompts to encourage discussion for the next group. Their hopes were that the next group would bond through sharing and discourse like theirs did.

She remarked that only one other group left conversation prompts, and she was lucky enough to have swapped with that group. “Out all five teams only two had conversation starters along the trail, it was really cool to experience someone else’s conversations. Our team’s bond grew stronger and we ended at one of my favorite spots; a waterfall by the Saloon. We found beauty in the area and significance. We had our materials to create a totem, but our team wanted to create something that did not distract from the beauty of the area. We wanted to create something that brought people in further. We did not want to use man made materials and we wanted something that would change over time. We created a circle, just like the ones we had left along the trail for other groups to experience. We chose the location of the circle because it can be seen from the saloon and will lead people down the trail to the waterfall. We presented our totem with a poem.”

The next SHiFT camp will take place in Alabama June 11-16th. You can also look forward to July 9-15th when SHiFT international camp will take place in Wales. Click through for more information on SHiFT camps and upcoming registration!