Now that summer is finally here, we sat down with Compass founder Annie Lang to check in on her summer plans and bucketlist, why she’s such a fan of the season, her local recommendations, favorite gear for summer, and more. We published Part 1 on our blog yesterday -- go check it out if you missed it (so many AMAZING recs from Annie for your summer visit to Leland)! -- and are excited to share the second half of the interview with you today.
Q: You were a summer camp counselor, how did your time there inspire your love for the outdoors and ultimately Compass as a brand?
A: I fell in love with Leelanau the year I worked as a camp counselor. It was my first job where so much of my time was spent outside helping kids enjoy the outdoors. Plus, my coworkers rocked -- any spare time we had, we were off enjoying summer together. Lots of beach time, hiking and wandering around all our small little towns grabbing food and iced coffees to fuel up before our next adventure. And that just absolutely stuck with me. Summers in Leelanau to this day are my biggest inspiration. I live for it!
Q: What’s your craziest camp memory?
A: I don’t think I have crazy memories but it’s just a ton of fun moments that added up to the best summer ever. And let’s be real… most of my best memories are the time after the campers went home for the day, bonding with my fellow counselors. We literally had the run of the camp after hours so we got to do all the fun stuff like play with all the boats and water toys, run around the huge rec field and hang out at the lodge on the picnic tables after we tired ourselves out.
Q: What’s on your summer bucket list this year?
A: EVERYTHING! I just want to be outside as much as possible. Hit up as many sunsets as possible. Hike as much as possible. Leelanau is already busier than it has been in years and we are feeling it at our store. I will be heading up there every day that I am not on the schedule once we move to longer hours, to give my girls a break for a bit during the day. I want to get myself to the beach everyday after that little stint in the store - not for hours and hours but at least 30 minutes before I head home and back to work so I can take that time to relax, read or swim. What’s the point of living in Leelanau if you aren’t spending at least a little time everyday enjoying it?
Q: We know it’s like picking a favorite child, but what product(s) are you most excited about using this summer?
A: I am loving our new hats! Besides being so fun, they are nice and lightweight so I’ve been rocking them on hikes without overheating. And literally anything beach related…. I always have one of our totes packed as a summer go bag filled with towels, books, healthy snacks, water bottles and sun protection so I can head to my favorite beaches after work or after a hike. And now that it’s hot I can’t live without our scrunchies and headbands to keep hair off my neck and out of my face.
Q: Back in the day (ugh - we sound old!), writing letters to friends and family while away at summer camp was not only a rite of passage, but a primary form of communication. What is it about hand-written letters that make them so special?
A: Good luck finding a sweet text message from years ago in your phone. But coming across a letter someone you love wrote you tucked in a book or in a stack on your desk? That’s special. At the beginning of my relationship with that cute co-counselor (now husband), he studied abroad in Costa Rica for a semester. And this was just around the time Skype started to become popular but he didn’t have access to internet. After he graduated, he bopped all over the country doing internships. So we wrote letters. And I still have them all. I also have a pile of birthday cards from my uncle who we lost a while back to cancer. He was notorious for finding the best cards that would make us all snort with laughter. Every time I find one hidden away somewhere it just takes my breath away still. If my house was on fire - after I got us out and the dogs out - I would go back in to get those cards and letters.