I was recently asked to speak to a class about the importance of community in the way we work as a business. I was reminded that it is not just important to us, it is what we do.
About ten years ago we set out to answer three questions: what do we do, how do we do it, and what if we did it intentionally? The idea was not to decide what we wanted to do, but rather to try to figure out what has been happening here all along, and then decide how we can get on board. What we discovered was that the primary factor for why camp is so effective, the reason our campers come back, and the reason our staff fall in love with camp every summer, is very simple. Friends.
We are made to live life together. It is in our DNA. Put another way, we are made in God’s image and at the very center of who he is is relationship (the Trinity). So it is no surprise that placing career or accomplishments ahead of family and friends usually ends poorly.
In most places developing community, is means to an end, a by-product of what they are there to do. Schools want strong community to create a better learning environment. Businesses want strong community to create more effective sales teams. Even reality TV stars want community to avoid getting voted off the island. But camp is different. For us community is an end in itself, it is what we are here to do.
We also have a leg up over other groups. We live together, like families. In other words, we do not just spend some time together and then go back to our real lives at home. For a short period each summer camp is our home. This is why camp friends are different, closer, than any others. We are made to live life together, and at camp doing that is not a strategy; it is the end itself.