This past week I was completely unplugged as I was at Summer Camp at the Pioneer Scout Reservation with the Boy Scouts. To say it was spectacular would not capture the experience enough !! I know that the idea of camping for a week in 100+ degree weather for a few days followed by 14 straight hours of monsoonlike rain isn’t for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world !!
There were so many memories forged, but let me highlight just a few . . .
- I slept through a heat lightning thunderstorm in an open field approximately 100 yards from a herd of buffalo at the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve.
- My son flew an airplane including lift off . . . and he’s 14 !!
- Our Troop built a wiffle ball field inside our campsite. They made the bases from log pieces cut by them with a two-man saw.
- The kids challenged the camp staff to a wiffle ball game on our field and beat them 16 – 6. I was deemed a “traitor” because I put on a staff shirt and hat and played for their team !!
The list could go on and on. The amazing thing is that even when I’m away from the “normal” world of work – HR still happens. Our leaders and scouts went out of our way to bond with the Staff and encourage them in all the great work that they do. Everyday staff members were in our site to socialize, play Euchre (an essential of scouting life !!) and even ask for advice. They are talented young men and women who choose to take their summers to help boys advance in their scouting career.
The best lesson I learned from camp this year was that, because I was disconnected from the outside/electronic/social media world, I could focus. I could focus on what mattered the most . . . the people around me.
Whether it was calming a young kid down from a serious bought of home sickness, or seeing my son become a young man and lead others, you didn’t have the chance to focus on anything else. You could take in every challenge, obstacle and opportunity and encourage, coach and guide people to be successful in what they were pursuing.
We hosted the leaders from the summer camp’s other Troops at our site and I taught them how to share one great thing about their kids and they stayed at our site for 2 1/2 hours sharing amazing things !!
This break from the wild pace of life reminded me that I want to continue to be an HR professional who focused on people first. You know that when we focused on the boys they completed their work, laughed for hours and hours, and worked together to do things that they’d never try on their own.
I think we make HR too hard. I am taking the lessons from this past week and implementing them even more. So, each night I’m going outside to gaze into the night sky and breathe deep to keep me grounded. Of course I’ll be wearing tie-dye, and you can see that this legacy will continue with at least a handful of young men for years to come.