Preaching to The Choir !

Years Removed and Miles Away- Summer Camp Still Pays Dividends!

It will come to no surprise to readers of this blog, that our Storer community believes deeply in what our camp provides to so many.  Whether it is Outdoor Environmental Education or good ol’ summer camp, camp serves the greater good.  Our camp in particular has been providing character-building experiences since 1918.  Like I say in the Stoney Lake Reflection’s podcast opener, there are some pretty amazing people involved with YMCA Storer Camps.  That’s why I enjoy producing the podcast.  One aspect is recognizing some ‘amazing people’ and their contributions. Some of our guests are well known, others you may not be that familiar with.  But altogether, these people have been touched by camp and made great contributions to her history.  No matter the forte of the individuals, at the end of the day, it all benefits youth development.

 

The Stoney Lake Reflections Recipe

The recipe for the SLR Podcast is not exact and one that is hard to define, yet here’s a partial attempt to call out some of the ingredients for the SLR podcast:

1  part history lesson

1 part reminiscing

1 wink and a nod

Touch of dry humor- as needed

1 pinch of laughter

Sprinkle of tradition – to taste

A nod to history

1 spoonful of the present

1-3 parts philosophical musings

1 swig of zippy (oops, wrong recipe)

Lessons on leadership- as needed

Always stir in a healthy helping of Hope (for a prosperous and continuing future)

 

 

The Good

Throughout the Podcast, we also talk to specialists in their particular fields, from Naturalists to Outdoor Education teachers, Waterfront Directors, Citizen Archeologists to Equine Managers.  Specialties aside, the programs always should return to the central focus: serving children.  It doesn’t matter if the lessons are educational or vocational in scope, for the importance is enrichment of those we serve.  You’ll hear this theme time and time again.  And I believe it is not just one of a bygone era.

I’m hopeful current staff listen to these episodes and gleen at least one thing from them.  It could be an insight on history or the essence of what timeless principles ought to be practiced in the present.  As a young staff member I too was subjected to the tales of yore.  But as I matured, I came to realize that those ideals and principles weren’t half bad! 😉

Because of these amazing guests, other common threads surface from their stories: the power of love, community, faith, character development, and serving others.   It’s a great fraternity to belong to as our family spans many eras, but we have a common interest and principles we believe in.

 

 

Dr. Don Klotz- Future Guest & Special Friend    (this man can teach us all a lot!)

When the Nostalgic Clashes with the Present Day

So many times in my professional pursuits, I have looked around a boardroom table and had a pretty good guess who did and didn’t go to a summer camp!  In my professional life as an Advertising executive ‘ad guy’ in some ways I couldn’t of picked a profession farther than some of the ideals cultivated at camp (At times I amuse myself and imagine what Abimbola would say to some of the stuff I’ve seen).  I’ll spare you the war stories in this article.  But I can say without reservation that the corporate world can be a very cold place.

I often think, perhaps naively, how some people may be radically different if they learned about teamwork and leadership in an environment like YMCA Storer Camps.  Then I wake up to reality.  In the interest of eating, I have a job to do.  I can’t help some of these people, but I can put into practice some of what I learned at camp.  How to lead a group, how to navigate around difficult personalities or situations, bring common sense to the fore (stretch goal) and move forward with our assignments that will help us attain whatever goal is before us.  And dont forget about Gumby-like F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y.  To say at times I’m in conflict between professional goals and personal fulfillment is not a stretch.  I’m afraid this phenomenon is more prevalent than we think.  That’s the reality of facing bigger challenges as we progress through life (note: I think the challenge is better than the alternative).

 

 

                                         Present Day- habitat naturalis

 

At the end of the day, all I ask is that my fellow humans be decent. I was once praised for my politeness, but was also marked down by the same observor on a performance review for not being forceful enough and at times, too polite[?] Yes, really.  But considering the source, I wasn’t surprised.  So the message was clear, nice guys finish last?  Do I always practice this beau ideal of being the best human I can be?  No.  Do I get frustrated with traffic? Perceived incompetence? Inpatient? Testy between meals-YES, guilty as charged.  But in aims to be driven, yet fair, that’s why I’ve always provided my teams a book to read entitled “The No Asshole Rule’ by Robert Sutton.  So the title is a little crude and wouldn’t make a good chapel, but you get the point of the book from the title alone.  Don’t hire jerks, don’t work with jerks, don’t let jerks poison the well.  Furthermore, those working with me are clued in to observe and practice the following principles and guidelines for my teams:

√ Don’t approach me before I FINISH my first cup of coffee. OK, half joking.

√ I’m not the best in the morning. OK, not really joking.

√ Always ask before calling a meeting “Do we need this meeting?”

√ Communication is fantastic (as things move very fast in marketing), but if you have an issue to report (problems), make sure you have solutions to offer, don’t just dump off ‘Problems’

√ Courteousness and decency go a long way.  I’m not looking for saints, but I am looking for decency amid a stressful environment filled with demanding clients and quick deadlines. Work is stressful enough.  Don’t negatively contribute to the team dynamics.

√  Be responsible for your work and comportment.

Today’s Goals… You are only as good as you were yesterday

What Everyone Should of Learned

With camp in mind, the attached article spells out what this choir already knows.  If everyone had a place like Camp Storer in his or her lives, humanity might be more humane!  Or at least people would be more rounded and in tune with productive teams and beautiful souls.  The headline extolls what I learned long ago- The Summer Camp experience is better than SAT prep.  In fact, my college essay was written about my experience on Storer’s high ropes course.

So here’s some external validation to what Storer Alumni Know….Read On!

Overnight summer camps are better for your kids than SAT prep classes

 

 

 

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