Darling Long Table dinners are such impactful events because women from all over come together around a similar vision: To connect at a deeper level through intentional conversation and make meaningful, lasting connections. If you haven’t been to one, the format is simple yet ends up being profound. First we gather around cocktails, wine and small bites, then we sit down for a meal and divide the tables into groups of 4-6 women to keep the conversation intimate. An overall theme for the evening is then presented, followed by 3-4 questions for the table to discuss. It’s amazing how this simple act of putting away our phones, looking one another in the eye and answering from the heart brings lasting change and comfort.
A very special Darling Long Table happened recently with Shelly Brown near Atlanta, Georgia. The setting couldn’t have been more meaningful with tables set inside the main hall at the beautiful Camp Southern Ground founded by Zac and Shelly Brown. As an inclusive camp, they serve children ages 7-17, from all backgrounds, also bringing together typically developing children, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning and attention issues such as ADHD, and Dyslexia, and social or emotional challenges. Part of the proceeds from the event went to support the camp, as we honor the important work that they do.
With beautiful table settings by Peachtree Tents and Events and flowers by The Funky Shack, the guests found their seats and the evening started with Darling founder Sarah Dubbeldam sharing the story of Darling’s inception and the theme of the evening which coincides with our summer print issue just released: Selflessness. Shelly Brown shared as well about her vision for Camp Southern Ground and about her jewelry line that is 100% American-made with Swarovski crystals, leather and metals. There was also a small pop-up shop on the premises, providing some fun shopping opportunities before and after the dinner.
As the first course of the delicious food was served, prepared by Camp Southern Grounds amazing Executive Chef, Collins Woods, Sarah posed the first table question: It is easy to think we are the most selfish generation that’s ever been, due to social media and cultural pressure to “stand out,” but what are some counterpoints to this idea? Table discussions ensued in healthy debate around this important issue as women from different backgrounds, ages and perspectives all brought valuable insight. The best part? There is no “right” answer; only the opening of minds to one another’s ways of seeing the world around them.
Question two is always a hard one for women to answer, and this evening was no different: How have you positively impacted another woman in your life recently? You could almost see everyone squirm in their seats as our natural instinct is to not want to “brag” or upstage one another with our good deeds. But after stepping out and sharing, women found themselves encouraged by opening up about the positive ripples their lives have made in the moments they stepped out in service to someone else.
Shelly added another layer of depth to the theme of the night by posing the final question: How do you think selflessness gets skewed and what is the balance of self-care as women and selflessness? This one caused quite a stir as women talked about how they feel as single women, married women, or mothers (or both!) and what is expected of them regarding their time and service. It was such a great reminder to take time to care for ourselves amidst all the pressure to perform and serve. The main consensus at the end was truly that women need to get away and take a moment to refresh before they can refresh others, and there is nothing wrong with that. Selflessness is a true balancing act.
It was such a beautiful evening and we couldn’t be more grateful to Shelly and her team for executing such a beautiful evening of laughter, love and connection.
Stay tuned for more Darling Long Table dinners coming up later this year!
Images provided by Shelly Brown.