Leadership Lessons From My First Summer Camp
I attended my first summer camp in junior high. My church was taking the youth to be part of a larger camp in Occidental, California, down in the Redwoods. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to spend a week learning about God and meeting cute girls.
OK, let’s be honest. As a kid, I went to church maybe four times a year, and I was the furthest thing from a ladies man. My mom had all the info and talked me into it, so I was going. On top of that, it was a themed camp. It had something to do with the Civil War … or war of some kind. I dunno. But I remember it had something to do with soldiers.
I had never been to anything themed before. But again, mom convinced me that it would be fun, and that we had to make a great costume to go with the theme. C’mon!!! I really had to make a costume?! This was sounding lame to me. I was going to make a costume, and all the other kids would show up with like … professional costumes. (I didn’t know what that meant, but I was sure I was right.)
So we went and bought a button down shirt, some gold stuff and some other war uniform-ish looking things and created a shirt that made me look like a Civil War Officer. I have to admit, it looked pretty good. I was proud of my mom for doing such a great job. I was certain that I would have one of the best looking costumes at the camp.
As we pulled up to the church, I was a little nervous. I had never been on a trip like this before. I didn’t know what to expect, but at least I had the confidence that I looked the part and could turn some heads with my “uniform.” I grabbed my bag and threw on my jacket, since it was a little cold, and headed over to the buses.
Let me say that nobody had as good looking of a uniform as me. In fact, there wasn’t one single person who had a COSTUME!!! Great! Now I was THAT kid!! I couldn’t believe I was in this situation. I kept my jacket on the WHOLE trip to the Redwoods. Once I got there, I made a beeline for the bathrooms and changed out of my now most-embarrassing moment but authentic looking Civil War uniform.
I recovered from the small misunderstanding that my mom and I had about a ” themed camp” and went on to have a fantastic week. I did meet a girl, Ginn Hackler, who dumped me three months later. Once again, nooo ladies man.
I did discover that day that I have a habit of not getting all the information that I might need in each given situation. (And all the high C’s from the DISC profile screamed AMEN!) What we need to learn, especially as leaders, is that heading straight into situations without understanding can be incredibly embarrassing. Or worse, painful. I’ve been in many meetings where a leader took my or someone else’s head off only to find out that they didn’t know what was going on.
Once again, I’m a repeat offender. It’s not nearly as bad when it’s something that doesn’t carry much weight. But when it comes to your team or your family, slow down. Ask questions. Read the pamphlet describing the Civil War themed camp. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be to discuss the topic at hand.
Question: What situations have you experienced that could have used more information?