Which camp will you be in this summer?
I’m not usually a summer camp guy, but as luck would have it I received two summer camp invitations a couple of days ago. They are for two different camps located on opposite sides of the same lake. The camps will be held at the same time so if I’m going to camp this summer, I am going to have to choose one or the other.
Since I don’t have much experience with summer camp, I thought you might be able to help me make my decision. I figure that since I frequently advocate on behalf of collaboration and the value of working with others, I would take my own advice and ask for your help. I’ll do my best to briefly, but accurately describe each of the two camps and together we can figure out which one, if either, I should attend.
I mentioned that the two camps are on opposite sides of the same lake. The one located on the bluff overlooking the lake is known as Camp Know It All (possibly derived from an ancient native culture, not sure). High on the hill, the views from camp are described as perfect. For some reason, the weather on that side of the lake is almost always ideal and on the rare occasion that it is not, it is likely the fault of somebody or something not in any way associated with the club.
It may be a bit of an elitist camp because it is apparently difficult to reach. Only the most knowledgeable are able to navigate the treacherous terrain and complicated path system between the lake and the bluff. There is only enough room for a few campers, but only a few of them make it up to the top anyway so there is no overcrowding to worry about once you are there.
You really must have to be pretty self-assured in this camp because your stay does not come with any instructions. Nor do any of the activities. Apparently, you are already supposed to know everything that you need to know upon arrival.
There is one other thing that struck me as a bit unique about this camp. There are no latrines and the only explanation is that they are not needed. Lastly, if I do go to this camp there may be some added risk involved. The invitation was attached to a rather lengthy legal looking document that explains that if anything at all goes wrong during my stay, neither the club nor any of its counselors or repeat campers will take any responsibility. This is a long standing tradition at this camp dating back to before anyone can remember.
The other camp, on the other side of the lake, sounds like it is a little different from Camp Know It All. Camp Ignoramus (most definitely derived from the beginnings of civilization) is actually located in a swampy area on the side of the lake that is flood prone. No one seems to mind. The camp has been located there for so long that it is unlikely anyone affiliated with the camp is seeking campground that might be better suited for their site.
In that camp, weather is of less importance. They know there is weather, but they are a little unclear of how exactly to describe it. The organizers of the camp do not utilize any points of comparison with other camps, almost as if they are unaware that other camps exist.
It is difficult for me to determine how to get to this camp. No one, who has been there, can tell you how they got there. They just remember that they had all the time in the world to get there although they do not remember how long that was.
Organized activities are essentially non-existent. In fact, my invitation indicates that highlights of my stay will include lots of wandering, purposeless driving of motorized carts, and endless idle chit chat.
All attendees of the camp are divided into two groups. Both group names are clearly a derivative of the Ignoramus flag that flies high above the campground. One group is known as the Oblivions and one is dubbed the Blissfully Ignorant. The sole competition between these two groups is a slow paced race to determine which group can be the most out of touch, whatever that means.
So, there you have it. What to do, what to do? Well, we could draw up the standard list of pros and cons, but I already feel as though I am beginning to get a plan together. I don’t know about you, but it always helps when I talk things out. You have given me that opportunity and it has really helped me to clarify my thoughts.
I think that I am going to politely decline both invitations and head out to start my own camp. Since the other two are so well established, I am not even going to try to recruit any Know It All’s or any Ignoramus’.
It may be difficult, but I’m going to look for a spot somewhere in between the two campsites, maybe one that has a few hills and a few valleys. I’m going to keep track of my trail so I can tell others exactly how to get there. I already know that it won’t be perfect, but I am confident that if I set some realistic goals I will most definitely attract the type of people who want to get the most out of their summer camp experience.
Since it will be the inaugural season for my camp, I may even give the attendees some say in the activities we will plan in exchange for their help in organizing the camp and developing standards for the future. That way, everyone who attends the camp this year and going forward will know exactly why they are there and what they can expect when they attend.
Well, I’ve got a lot to do and time certainly is not going to slow down in the meantime. Only one question left to answer. Which camp will you be in this summer?
This article is part of Scott Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.