Camp Pull A Shot 2012 was much more amazing than I had anticipated. Having been the previous year I thought I would know excatley how it would go down and what I would get out of it. I was wrong.
I came into LA the night before Camp and I thought I would be able to make it into Camp a night early like I did the year before to help with any setting up. Well I got stuck in LA so I threw out a general text and in minutes a coffee professional I hardly knew before Camp was willing to come pick me up, cook me food, let me stay at their place and drive me to Camp the following day! Alexandra LittleJohn you are amazing and I’ll never forget what you did for me that night. It’s these types of interaction that make Camp so amazing. Building new friendships and new bridges all while expanding your professional development.
Arriving at Camp the following day everything seemed about same as the year before. Checking in and getting your awesome camp gear (backpack, tee shirt, flashlight, water bottle etc). After checking into my cabin I headed up to the Main Tent and after a small discussion I decided to take my level 2 test. (I had taken all the course work for level 2 the year before but did not pass the test.) I super crazy proud to say that I passed!
Later that night we had our first team challenge which was coffee trivia. All the team challenges are fun and it’s a great way to get to know many people from all over the country. I was picked by my team to be the team leader which was a great experience and I learned so much from my team over the week. At the end of the first night there was no big party just a lot of great people hanging out around a campfire having a few beers and chatting about everything coffee. These campfire discussions are some of the most valued discussions I’ve ever had in coffee. Special thanks goes to Lorenzo Perkins.
Katie Carguilo adding wood to the fire.
On the second day I stepped in and out of classes that I had already taken the year before. I also had the chance to spend some time touring the facilites with Ildi Revi and Peter Giuliano. After that I took Sensory Skills for a second time and if you have taken this class you’ll know why taking it multiple times is beneficial. It’s a very intense class thats helps you learn to taste Sweet, Sour and Salty. The amazing Dan Streetman led the class this year. This is a class you must pass to become a Q-Grader so it’s a really important one for me. This was the only class I took for this day and it gave me a lot of time to reflect on what I was learning and more importantly what I was becoming a part of.
Later that night we had a Symposium at Camp. This was hands down the highlight of Camp and super motivating to me especially because it was about getting customers excited about Specialty Coffee. Peter Giuliano started it off with an intro of what Tracy Ging done while still with the SCAA. Then something amazing happened he introduced the SCAA Board of Directors! This was huge to me, they came to camp to listen to us the Baristas! In their intro speech about who they were and why they did at the SCAA there was something mind blowing said. “Baristas are the future of Specialty Coffee” So not only were they here to listen to use but to learn from us. After this Chris Schooley led everyone in a roundtable discussion. To sum it up the main point was from a customer standpoint “when your excited I’m excited”.
A collage from the focus group that Tracy Ging put together for SCAA.
Day three at Camp started off earlier for me as far as classes go. I knew I would like this class but I really had no idea how much I would get out of it. Organic Acids and the Chemistry of Coffee GE255 is a must do for any dedicated coffee professional. I have been studying acids in coffee on my own for about 3 years so I was not sure how much I would get out of this class. The class was so well presented and so well taught I now have a much clearer understanding of what I had been trying to teach myself the last few years. It’s classes like these that will really show why the BGA, RGA and SCAA are so important and amazing. Moving on from that class I headed into CP158 Golden Cup Fundamentals. This is a required class to become a Golden Cup certified Technician (which I plan on becoming). In this class led by the amazing Rusty Angell we learned about the brewing control chart and how to navigate it without a computer. The station instructors were none other than the SCAA brew crew. After a full day of learning I headed up to give some Level One Exams! Their were so many people waiting to take their level one and everyone that was a certified examiner was called upon to help. Shortly after all the exams were finished being taken the final team challenge started. Our team was the only one to finish our Signature Drink with mystery bag of ingredients before the power generator died! Oh well. Not to long after this the closing ceremony began. This is where you get your testing results and all the thank you’s and tears come out. This is also the only night this year that there was any partying. Oh and there was partying! I’ll leave the details to those who were at camp but I’ll leave one parting photo.
So for some final thoughts about Camp. I love the BGA and the SCAA and I believe they are doing more than anyone or any organization on the planet to push Speciality Coffee forward. I’d also like to note that if you don’t like something about the way it’s being run then you should become a member and be the change. We need change all the time and we need passionate talented people from the bottom up. People also often ask me about the value of camp. I’ll say this I’ll pay out of my own pocket year after year to come to camp and I know it will be worth it every time. I’ll take classes I’ll volunteer and I’ll be there every year. Last thing I have to say is I can’t write a thank you list long enough to name everyone that deserves it. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!