Great Stories, Leadership, Vision

Leadership Lessons from Summer Camp #2

Continuing my thoughts on the great leadership lessons to be found while I volunteer this week at Medeba summer camp. Lesson #2: Pull Together In addition to the iintense heat wave this week, there is a stomach bug circulating among the staff that has all of us washing our hands frequently and regular discussions about how many staff are currently quarantined in the health centre.

20120717-122543.jpg The constantly shifting availability of staff means there is a quiet scramble to make the sick are off duty to recover and avoid spreading the illness further; and a challenge to keep all aspects of the program running for the campers. Over and over again I see these young leaders volunteering to take an extra activity period, checking in on someone who may be overwhelmed, and giving up some of their limited time off to help support others. There is a “can-do” culture here that keeps stepping up. (I am fully aware of the danger of overwork and the limits of even youthful energy. The supervisory team are continually checking in to ensure that willingness to carry a larger load doesn’t become later crashing.) The attitude here is wonderful. Staff seem to all share a deep commitment to the mission, modelled well by the leaders, and don’t hesitate when they are needed to help. Admittedly, camp is a compressed period of time. The pace here is not indefinitely sustainable, and these young leaders aren’t struggling to balance spouses, children, yard work, and paying bills alongside the summer program. They have the power of focus to a rare extent because of the context. Still, it is a reminder of the value and importance of keeping the mission in mind. When the team is pulling together toward a shared dream they will take on challenges with enthusiasm instead of shirking responsibility. What are you and your team volunteering to do beyond your regular roles?