Not too long ago I had a friend chide me for not taking more time off in the summer months. The next year when his daughter became a camper he became very concerned whenever he saw me out of camp – getting my hair cut, or gas for the car. I think he was right both times. Every day runs better if I am here, but every summer runs better if I take a little time off.
Ann and I are the camp directors, but we have lots professional staff working with us. We chose each of them because they are people who are at their best when they are leading others. Healthy leaders in healthy organizations do amazing things so we like giving our year-round staff the chance to lead without their type-A, micro-managing, daddy-pants-wearing camp director looking over their shoulders. When professionals have the chance to do that they shine, and they make camp better.
It also makes me better. We are made to live in a rhythm of work and rest; it’s one of the Ten Commandments after all. Of course there’s a lot of variation in beliefs about what that sort of rest looks like – but regardless of where we land on that – it is at least something that is very important to how God made us.
That’s why we give our counselors more time off than is typical for camps. Our staff gets a day (breakfast until 12:00 AM) and a night (dinner until 12:00 AM) each week. We also try to wrangle another 2 hours off in camp each day. Outside of that they are on 24/7, so their cycle of work and rest is important.
That is also why I took a day off yesterday. While our girls were celebrating Christmas Eve, and our boys were getting ready for Cowboy Joe Day, I was climbing at Ship Rock with Ryan Carlson. The result was a day when not everything would be done exactly the way I would do it, and a day that made camp just a little better.