Enjoying The Time Winter Provides

canstockphoto1459811“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

–Helen Keller

I’m not sure what the weather is like where you live, but here, in Illinois, it’s cold and snowy.

The last rental group has returned back to their every day lives.

The summer staff is just finishing up semester finals.

The majority of our camp buildings are shut down for the winter.

It feels cold.  It feels dark.  And sometimes, it feels a bit lonely without the voices of hundreds of campers running around.

In the slower paced schedule (slower than summer that is) and in the silence of camp, I find myself often reflecting on the summer and fall that was and the spring and summer that is left to come.

The wise King Solomon once wrote, “There’s a time for everything … a time to be born …” And that’s what winter is for me; a time for things to be born.  It’s a time when ideas, strategies and plans begin to develop. It’s a time when I have the most silence to get ready for the upcoming season so that when the sun breaks, I’m ready for what is ahead.

Here are three things that I’m doing this winter in preparation for spring and summer 2014.

First, I’m evaluating the things that we’ve always done at camp.

Author Harvey MacKay says, “A good leader understands that anything that has been done a particular way for a given amount of time, is being done wrong. Every single thing can be improved.”

Second, I’m evaluating the things that haven’t been done yet at camp.

Apple founder Steve Jobs said, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on Research and Development. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.

Third, I’m sitting at the table with people who can help me get the first two things done.

President Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

This winter I’m sitting down with people smarter and more experienced than me. I do this by attending conferences such as the YMCA MACC or ACA Mid-States. I do this by engaging in groups on Facebook such as Summer Camp Professionals (facebook.com/groups/camppros). I do this by reading the thoughts of great camp people in magazines such as Camp Business. And I am especially doing this by sitting down with my staff and giving them the opportunity to share and create. They are the true research and development team for my camp.

What about you?

Are there things you’ve always done at your camp that need to be evaluated this winter?

Are there some things you’d like to try at camp? Maybe this is the time to bounce it off some people.

Are there things you can be doing for your own personal and professional growth this winter? Are you attending a conference, joining a broader conversation, reading articles?  Maybe it’s time to set aside some time and jump in.

Cory Harrison has directed resident camp programs for more than 10 years with The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Currently, he is the Director of the YMCA Camp Benson in Northwest, IL. He is a life-long camper, an avid reader, and daily cereal eater. Reach him via Facebook: www.facebook.com/coryharrisoncampdirector

Related posts:

  1. Never A Wrong Time For A Good Idea
  2. Transition Time
  3. A Winter’s Day At Camp
  4. Time Outs As Treats
  5. The Science Behind Time Management

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