Tag Archives: Monarch Escape

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Lessons Learned from the Smoky Mountain Adventure

 escape hike

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Each summer iGnite hosts a girlfriend getaway called a Monarch Escape. These adventurous yet relaxing vacations serve as an opportunity for women to partake in new and fun experiences while enjoying the camaraderie and companionship of one another. This summer we spent six days and five nights in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina on what we called, the Smoky Mountain Adventure.


Our retreat began in the Hart House, a large six bedroom country style home nestled in the Cane Creek Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each day began around 8:00 a.m. and was chock-full of activities such as rock climbing, white water rafting, mountain biking, zip lining and hiking, followed by happy hour back at the house, a delicious dinner and the best part of all — candid and open conversations about the day and life.

 escape zip line

After having hosted four Monarch Escapes, there’s no doubt that the best part of each getaway is the fellowship and opportunity it gives attendees to recharge their batteries. Not only do we all return home feeling exhilarated, confident and full of energy, but the bonds and friendships formed leave you feeling nurtured, supported and loved….and who can’t use more of that?!


Check out what a few of this year’s attendees had to say about their biggest takeaways from the trip:

“One of my favorite takeaways from the trip was spending time with new people that I did not know very well or at all before the trip…I truly enjoyed hearing everyone’s “story.” It is very comforting to realize that we all have some common threads as women, moms, wives, friends, sisters, etc.  It is so inspiring to hear the things that other women in our group have achieved and overcome in their lives. I just loved our nightly dinner talks that spurred these great conversations!”

-Jill Watts


“During our 100 ft vertical rock climb, we belayed each other. When I was up about 50 feet clinging to any ledge I could find and a little scared, I looked down at JoAnn, who had my rope and my life in her hands.  She said, “I got you, Kathleen.”  I had no doubt that I was going to be fine! I love the “support” we get from each other in iGnite — LITERALLY!!!

-Kathleen Parker

“I’m really thankful I was able to share a week of my life with such kind, adventurous, inspirational women.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and I came home with renewed confidence.”

-Annemarie Glover

 “You never know what you are capable of doing until you try it. It is easy to say no, but when an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone comes your way, say yes and go for it!

-Nancy Dacy


Interested in attending a future Monarch Escape with iGnite?
We would love for you to join us!  Visit our website for details about attending future trips.

Click here to see more photos from the iGnite Smoky Mountain Adventure on Facebook

Featured Testimonial


…I have tried and accomplished things that I never would have dreamed of at 56 years old…
– Nancy D.

Nancy Dacy, iGnite participant since 2010

By Nancy D., iGnite participant since 2010

“At the encouragement of a friend, I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended my first iGnite class in August 2010. It was a cross training class that Neissa was teaching at Barton Springs. The only familiar thing to me that morning were several people that I knew who immediately embraced me and made me feel welcomed and less self-conscious. I have lived in Austin since 1975 and had never stuck my toe in Barton Springs. It was invigorating, to say the least. It was a great morning, and to be completely honest, every inch of me hurt the next day. But, it was the greatest feeling that I had really accomplished something and I could not wait to go back.

To look back at all I have done since I joined iGnite is amazing. I have attended classes at Rollingwood Park, Mt. Bonnell, Butler Park, Pease Park, Northshore Overlook, and the Austin High track. I have gone swimming at the JCAA and danced at Champions Westlake. I have experienced a variety of cardio classes, yoga classes and strength training classes all outside, whether it is 32 degrees or over 100 degrees. Not only have I gone Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) on Town Lake for the first time, I have done it with a Hula Hoop (don’t ask the end result). I have been water skiing and bike riding. I have attended lunches and dinners as well as parties. I have attended, and even participated in, Whole Body Health talks and learned so much.

The icing on the cake was a Monarch Escape with 16 women to Oyster Bay, New York. We exercised, ran the streets of Long Island, played in the ocean, had a sailboat excursion, ate healthy meals, drank green smoothies and just relaxed and enjoyed girl time with some amazing, like-minded women.

iGnite is so much more than just an exercise program. It provides an environment to step out and explore new opportunities, try things you have never done before, and embrace life as a whole. I have tried and accomplished things that I never would have dreamed of at 56 years old. iGnite encourages a zest for life and makes us all better people by feeding our bodies, minds and spirits. It has truly iGnited my life in so many ways!”

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