Mindcamp Southwest 101: What you need to know


We are so excited that you are coming to (or highly considering) Mindcamp Southwest! 

This post will answer (all) your questions and serve as your basic guide to Mindcamp Southwest. If this were a college course, we'd call it MCSW 101. 

MCSW 101:

Q1: How do I briefly describe Mindcamp Southwest to my friends, family, and colleagues?

A: Mindcamp Southwest is a (non) conference that brings together creativity, design thinking, leadership development, and innovation experts from all over the world for professional, personal, and organizational development. It takes place at a historic ranch in Oracle, Arizona from March 1-4. These four days are loaded with facilitated workshops, festivities, enlightening campfire conversations, and so much more. Feel free to use this blurb on any of your social media outlets! 

Q2. What is the difference between all the workshops? How do I know which one to pick?

A: As previously mentioned in Question #2, workshops come in 4 varieties:

  1. 90-minute Workshops: There are 10+ offerings for 90-minute workshops. Workshops are a great way to share exciting practices and new tools. At MCSW, all workshops are interactive and participatory and cover a variety of topics.  

  2. 180-minute workshops: In addition, we have 4, 180-minute workshops. These sessions take place in 2 parts (first 90-minutes of the workshop, 30-minute break, second 90-minutes of the workshop).

  3. Open Space: Everyone at Mindcamp Southwest has the opportunity to present in one way or another. Open spaces are impromptu workshops that allow for attendees to present their own topics.

So how do you choose? You make choices at Mindcamp Southwest by "voting with your feet!" You get to choose which, and how many, sessions you go to. We will give you a schedule of options and you get to figure it out from there. We challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and try a workshop that you normally wouldn’t. Then again, if you are in a session and it doesn’t feel right for you, feel free to politely step out. This is your MCSW experience and YOU get to make it your own. Check out all the scheduled workshops here: www.mindcampsw.com/sessions.


Q4. What is all this talk about a "community atmosphere" that's created at MCSW?

A. Mindcamp Southwest is not just a series of workshops. Your experience at Mindcamp is largely shaped by the people you meet and the beautiful and challenging conversations you hold in between events and at the end of the day. Everyday you will be given the opportunity to meet with your small group (we call them Caravans) and debrief on your experiences. You will likely find yourself immersed in frequent, in-depth campfire conversations with your new friends. The original Mindcamp started in Canada 15 years ago and has created an inseparable and exceptionally welcoming (international) community over the years. Every year there is a great mix of returning Mindcampers and first-timers. This is your chance to join us for the inaugural year of Mindcamp Southwest, as we bring the tradition and spirit of Mindcamp to the Southwest United States. 


Q5. What do I need to pack or prepare? How is the weather?

A. Oracle, Arizona will feel like a warm spring day for the northerners and a chilly autumn day for the southerners. Remember, we are in the desert. The air is dry and the temperature quickly fluctuates as soon as the sun comes up or goes down. High temperatures will be in the mid-70’s (15-19C) and the lows will be in the 40s (around 4C). Mindcamp Southwest promotes casual and comfortable attire. Remember, this is Mind “camp” and you are staying on a ranch. Wear comfortable shoes you can walk around and stand in for many hours.

For the cool evenings, bring a jacket, some layers, warm socks, and a knit hat. For sunny afternoons, bring a baseball hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, chapstick, and a pair of hiking boots (there are trails on and near the ranch). There is a heated pool and hot tub, too. Don’t forget to bring a notebook and your favorite pen—you will want to record all of your insightful moments and new ideas.

The Historic C.O.D. Ranch will provide clean bedding, towels and basic toiletries.

Finally, you will probably want to bring cash (USD only, please) for the CASH ONLY bar stocked with local beer and wine and to purchase an exclusive MCSW t-shirt that will be sold during the Camino.


Q6. What other things will I be doing, besides going to workshops?

Besides workshops, here’s what else you may find yourself doing at MCSW:

  • Waking up early for morning yoga, creative free-writing, or hiking (completely optional!)

  • Losing track of time while engrossed in engaging conversations

  • Writing and reflecting on all your new experiences that you'll want to bring back to your family, friends, and colleagues

  • Eating delicious food prepared by Chef Dave (see Question #7)

  • Attending the Camino: a semi-spontaneous festival of random activities such as card games, LARP'ing lessons, free massages, jokes, lessons on how to take a selfie, handwriting analysis, storytelling, jam band sessions, and whatever else you want bring into the mix—you can set up a booth or walk around as an attendee. 

  • Exploring the unique flora and fauna of the Sonoran desert

  • Walking the labyrinth

  • Meeting with your small group (Caravan) to share what you’re learning and hear from others, as well

  • Swinging in a hammock or playing yard games during afternoon free time

  • Taking a dip in the pool or hot tub

  • Planning your own night flight (see Question #3)

  • … and so much more! The experience is up to you!


Q7. What about food and drinks?

A: When you register, please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. Chef Dave, of the Historic C.O.D. Ranch will take care of you and your dietary needs. He is known for making some mean southwestern food and margaritas. We will have some snacks available for in-between meals, but you are welcome to bring your own snacks, too.

Please remember that we will have a CASH ONLY bar on site for you to enjoy your libations of choice (beer, wine, etc.).


Q8: I haven’t registered yet! Is there still space for me?

A: Yes! We still have space left for you. Register now! www.mindcampsw.com/attend


Q9: Okay great, I am registered! What time should I arrive? Depart?

A: We recommend flying into the Phoenix or Tucson airport and finding a carpool, shuttle, or rental car.


  • Presenters— arrive at The Historic C.O.D. Ranch, in Oracle, Arizona, around 11:30 am on Thursday, March 28.

  • Attendees—arrive between 1:30-3:30 pm on Thursday, March 28.


  • Everyone should plan to leave after 2:00pm on Sunday, March 31st.


Q10: If I still have questions, where can I get more information?

You can sign up for our email newsletter (in the footer of our website), send an e-mail to howdy@mindcampsw.com or visit our website at www.mindcampsw.com. Also, make sure to check out Mindcamp Southwest on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.