I received a great book for my birthday this past summer. The book is Camp, by Michael Eisner, the longtime driving force at Disney. All of the proceeds from the book are donated to The Eisner foundation, which provides scholarships to send under-served children to his alma mater, Camp Keewaydin, in Vermont. The book will resonate for anyone who has spent time at a quality summer residential camp. By quality, I mean a camp committed to the developmental assets of children and adolescents; a place where young people are encouraged to develop social and emotional intelligence as they engage in activities which allow them to learn much about themselves; a place where young adults have meaningful responsibilities placed on them by thoughtful and supportive mentors.
Camp Keewaydin is just such a place and Eisner brings its past and present to life with his thoughts and memories of being a second generation camper and staff member at Keewaydin. He credits much of his success as an adult, both personally and in the business world, to the life lessons he learned at summer camp. He feels (as do I) that the skills learned at camp are invaluable and very transferable to situations encountered throughout life.
The book came to mind today as I reflected on camp staff throughout the world writing Christmas cards or emails to their campers of the past season and trying to decide if they are going to return for one more fabulous camp season. Camp directors giving thought to their senior staff positions for the coming season and planning their 2011 marketing approach in a tight market. Parents talking with their kids about which camp or which session they want to attend this coming summer. Just a quick note here for parents who feel they can’t afford to send their kids to camp: all reputable camps offer camperships, so check out that option. Best of luck all you camp folks and if you get a chance, give Camp a read.