Press / read some of the praise the Retreat has received from the media
Since its first year in 2021, the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat has been in the news. Here are a few of our favorites.
Rekha Basu: Could Okoboji become the new writers’ destination? Leave it to Julie Gammack to make it happen.
Opinion columnist, Rekha Basu, shares what made Julie Gammack’s first Okoboji Writers’ Retreat special and an overwhelming success.
Trying to find Iowa’s center
“We gathered last week for the Okoboji Writer’s Retreat to talk about writing, but the conversation kept turning to politics — specifically, what the hell happened to Iowa?
The retreat on the shores of Miller’s Bay at the Iowa Lakeside Lab was organized by Julie Gammack and husband Richard Gilbert, and grew to 250 participants in its third year. Gammack is a former columnist for The Des Moines Register and talker on WHO Radio. Gilbert was a newspaper publisher and press secretary to Gov. Bob Ray …”
Okoboji Writers Retreat 2.0 with Julie Gammack
“Last year when my friend, journalist and entrepreneur, Julie Gammack called to invite me to attend the Okoboji Writers Retreat I was happy to say “Yes!”. I figured that maybe 50 writers, speakers, creators might show up. Uhm…I was wrong. Over 120 folks showed up to listen, learn and get motivated to create. Now it’s time for the Okoboji Writers Retreat 2.0 and it’s a big deal. Here Julie will explain what to expect and some of the folks who will be attending. And she leaves us with a tease of something else she is working on. Listen in and consider joining us in September. Oh and this is NOT a stuffy event…we have a blast!”
In 25 photos & a few words, here’s the story of the 2nd annual Okoboji Writers Retreat
“WAHPETON, Iowa, Sept. 22, 2022 — I felt like we’d almost checked-in at Grant Wood’s Art Colony in Stone City, back in the 1930s. But instead, it was the second annual “Okoboji Writers Retreat” that former Des Moines Register columnist and WHO radio talkshow host Julie Gammack and her husband Richard Gilbert organized this past Sunday-thru-Wednesday at the Iowa Great Lakes.
There were more than 200 of us — 180 adult “students,” stretching in age from their 20s to their 80s — and about 30 of us “faculty” who’ve been involved in various kinds of professional writing over our careers. We came from coast to coast. All our classes and some of our bunks were in the wonderful State of Iowa “Lakeside Lab,” originally constructed in the hard times of the early ’30s by Civilian Conservation Corps workers …”
Finding Peace with Writing: Reflecting on Okoboji Writers’ Retreat
“With my favorite roller ball pen in hand in, a stack of business cards and a blue notebook simply titled ‘notebook,’ I eagerly awaited my first day of the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat (OWR) …”
Okoboji Writer’s Retreat
“My first writer’s retreat ever and it completely exceeded my expectations. Would I be surrounded by pretention? Would it be lame? Would I be irritated that I drove five hours to northwest Iowa for this? No, no and no. I was surrounded by lovers of words: Journalists, poets, memoirists, novelists, all storytellers in their own unique way …”
Dear Julie Gammack,
“Words fail me–but I’ll try anyway.
As you know, I love my work and my life, and am extremely busy and so caught up in everything I do here that I seldom want to take time away from it.
I recognized over the three days of the Okoboji Writers’ Retreat that I had created a self-imposed cage, and you opened up the door and dragged me through it.
I hadn’t known that there was a cage, a door, or that I could–and should–walk through it.
So thank you.
For me, it was like in the middle of the movie the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy first arrived in Oz, and the movie turns from black and white to color …”
Dear Julie Gammack,
“Once again, you plucked me from my little corner of the universe in rural southern Iowa, which seems so small to others yet so vast to me, and set me down tenderly on the banks on the distant shores of Lake Okoboji, among my brothers and sisters for another Okoboji Writers Retreat.
All of us eager to teach and learn. From many walks of life, of many colors and hues, ages and genders, willing to share our knowledge and experience for the betterment of each other. And ultimately, humanity …”