As summer camps are in full force this season I find myself recalling memories and experiences from many summer moons ago when I was a youngster at camp. After visiting my son this week at his chosen summer vocation as a camp counselor, I was inspired by watching him take direction from his superiors, giving direction to his team members and interacting with camp goers and parents. It was interesting to see that my grown up camp goer was now a regular summer fixture at the same camp he once attended. Not only does the camp experience give young people a great education living outside their comfort zone but it also encourages them to get to know others outside their circle of home and school. It made me realize how trivial my thoughts had become of summer camp as nothing more than a place to give kids an out of the way experience and parents a much needed reprieve. There was so much more going on at camp than just a week away from mom and dad.
The real camp experience teaches some pretty valuable skills we carry with us through life like problem solving, leadership, risk taking, self-reliance and teamwork. It gives them a chance to exercise these skills when they go horseback riding for the first time, challenge their fear of heights by climbing up a 50 foot tower to reach the zip line, being resourceful by building a campfire, getting to know fellow campers and counselors and so many more activities that appear to be just for fun but in reality allow them to draw upon energies they never knew they had. My camp days are long gone yet this week’s seemingly insignificant visit to a familiar campsite made me realize how important this experience is for young people as well as seasoned camp goers of yesterday. Maybe it served as a gentle reminder to remember those long learned camp lessons and how they can apply to business today. Stretching beyond our limits, stepping out of our comfort zones, learning new skills, being a good leader and team member, maybe we need to simply step back for a hot summer minute and remember with childlike wonder the excitement of exploring new places and meeting new people and let that breathe new life into our weathered sails of business as usual.
What do you say, pretend it is your first week at camp and let go and have some fun, challenge your fear, make a new friend, try something different and write me a postcard telling me all about it!