How Camp Teaches Me To Lead

Camp inspires confidence

A great leader appears confident, even in times of weakness, which can prove to be supremely difficult.  After a few upsets, nothing feels harder than keeping your chin up and continuing to push forward, but great leaders find the confidence inside them to carry on. At camp, you are constantly surrounded by a sea of friendly faces who act as a safety net and allow you to take risks that you might not take in other environments.  Whether you are daring to climb to the top of the ropes course or singing a camp song in front of a crowd, camp is a place where you can test your own limits and feel supported regardless of the outcome. Building confidence in your own abilities is a huge step towards becoming a strong leader.

Camp gets you comfortable with the uncomfortable

Face paint and food fights might sound anything but typical in the real world, but at camp, they are just part of a normal afternoon. Camp is a place where nothing is ever too wild and crazy and any given moment is a chance to try something new. If the sometimes unusual activities that camp provides aren’t enough of a change from reality, the living conditions themselves can be quite the unfamiliar experience.  Camp forces you to live in close proximity with relative strangers, which can be a challenge in and of itself. It takes cooperation, flexibility, and the desire to be inclusive with others to make the best of this tricky new situation. Good leaders often have to step out of their comfort zone and make themselves vulnerable to those who they wish to lead, so getting to navigate the unpredictable, often awkward experiences that arise at camp makes you flexible and resilient.

Camp forces you to take initiative

There is never a dull moment at camp and that fast pace of camp life forces you to think on your feet and make things happen.  Forgotten are the days of waiting around for others to step up and take charge, at camp you are in charge of your own destiny. Whether your call to action is planning a bunk skit or gathering a team to take on the flag football game, every day provides opportunities to take initiative. A primary job of a leader is to inspire others and garner cooperation, which starts out on a small scale, such as at camp.

Camp strengthens communication skills

Without cell phones or laptops to get in the way, camp is a place where you can truly learn how to communicate with others.  Rather than giving in to the urge to text someone instead of having a meaningful conversation in person, camp makes you get back to the basics and figure out how to get your point across to others. A huge part of being a leader is communicating, so gaining communication skills at camp sets you up for success outside of camp.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they’re made.” If there is one place in which leadership skills can grow and flourish, it is at summer camp, where every day offers new opportunities to challenge yourself and take risks. If you are looking to gain some strong skills in leading and inspiring others, check out what summer camp can do for you