Service, Socialize, Spider Repellant, and Sparkle – Lessons from Camp

Every Summer Has A Story, But This One Is More LIke A NovelWhen I was in 5th Grade, I got to go to summer camp for the first time. With a mixture of fear and excitement, I ventured away from home for two weeks to “rough-it” camp style.

After the initial shock of being “on my own” and some bouts of homesickness, I settled into the experience and started to have some fun – cannonballs off the dock, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, new friends, and of course, s’mores. While a big portion of the camp experience is a blur, looking back makes me realize I learned some valuable life lessons that can also be important business lessons too.

Many of the important lessons can be condensed into the following four S’s: Service, Socialize, Spider Repellant, and a good bit of Sparkle.

Service

Our camp counselors had some ground rules for us. One that was stressed a lot was to be of service to others. With so many kiddos running around things could get all crazy-like, so of course they needed to instill a sense of camaraderie and responsibility. I remember I had this horrible ear infection and one of the girls that became a good friend, stayed by my side when I was crying my eyes out, then asked me to play cards with her so that I could take my mind off the pain. I’ll never forget her kindness and she walked her way into my heart at that very moment.

It’s a good lesson as a business owner too. Treat your customers like a new friend and flourish them with kindness and compassion. Find out what they need to make their lives less painful, more joyful and easier. Do something memorable for them and you will win your way into their hearts.

Socialize

Obviously, a big part of the summer camp experience is making new friends, however, I was very shy as a kid and this one didn’t always come easy to me. Hiding in my bunk all day wasn’t going to make for a very fun experience, so camp pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and become a social butterfly (read: talk to other kids).

In business, it’s important to be sociable too. Hiding behind your screen or working in your studio all the time is not going to help you promote your business or build your customer base. You’ve got to get out there and talk to people. Share your story, relate to your customers, team-up on projects, and give genuine compliments and feedback.

Spider Repellant

The bathroom at camp had these big black spiders that completely freaked me out. I really wished I had brought some spider repellant with me, but I had to brave it as to not walk around stinky the whole time.

Life and business are like that too. You’ll encounter tasks, problems, or people that totally freak you out, but you must push forward. While most of the time, owning your own business means getting to do what you love, there are still some tasks that are necessary to your success which may not be fun or easy. You must be brave, carry on, face your fears, and develop some tough skin.

Sparkle

This one is my favorite! I loved arts and crafts time at camp – it was my time to really shine. A little paint, paper, and glue can go a long way and provide hours of entertainment, but it was especially important to not forget the glitter.

When building your business, don’t forget to have fun and add some pizzazz!  Little details and embellishments can set your business apart from your competitors and make a world of difference to your bottom line. Think about how you are setting yourself apart. Is your packaging doing justice to your product? Is your customer service something to rave about? Are the tiny details so beautiful that someone can’t help take their eyes off your product? Figure out your strengths and really let them shine through.

What are you doing in business to be of service, socialize, repel your fears, and really sparkle? Did you ever make it to summer camp as a child or an adult? If so, what other lessons did you glean from your experience?

9 comments

  1. Kylie Bellard says:

    This is amazing! I’ll admit that my camp experiences were, um, not as awesome as yours. However, I very much enjoyed reading what the camp takeaways were from someone who actually liked camp. Service + sparkle = YES!

    • Aw, @Kylie Bellard & @Lori-Ann I am sorry to hear that your camp experiences were more spiders than sparkle. I wonder what important life lessons you learned by making it through? Not as cheerful of a lesson maybe but probably profound in it’s own way! PS: Kylie I just got a beautiful email from you & am writing you back this morning!

    • Kylie – Well, I definitely wouldn’t say ALL my experiences were awesome, but they did help me to grow…lol. I guess I did have a good time overall though. I’m glad that you were able to glean some good take-aways from my experiences, despite yours being maybe-not-so-great! Sparkle on!

  2. Lori-Ann says:

    I’m with @kyliebellard:disqus –my camp experience wasn’t so great. But I loved reading kids-at-camp novels–just like I’m loving your synopsis, Kimberly. And life *is* a lot like camp: finding the parts we like, keeping the best lessons, and moving through it all with sparkle. Thank you!

    • Thanks Lori Ann! I’m sorry to hear that your camp time wasn’t so great either, but I’m glad that you were still able to relate a bit to my post! I definitely also had my rough moments at camp, but they were good growth experiences. I’m glad my parents pushed me to venture out away from home because I was actually quite scared to go. I love how you said that: finding the parts we like, keeping the best lessons, and moving through it all with sparkle. Great synopsis!! 🙂

  3. Caylie Price says:

    Hi Kim!
    Awesome to see you over here! You’ve written such a beautiful comparison between camp and business with great lessons/reminders. I wasn’t allowed to go to summer camp but I certainly imagined what it would be like as a kid. Can’t wait to read when you post next!
    Caylie

  4. colleen attara says:

    Kimberly….your post makes me remember we have all the knowledge we need to run our businesses. We learned so many life lessons all along the way. No rocket science. Just some hard work, really good manners, and some playtime. ps. love your new photo. Amazing.

    • Hi Colleen 🙂 You are so very right…most of us have enough life lessons to make running a business somewhat second nature. Sometimes we just have to dig in deep to find that knowledge and put it into action. Hard work – manners – play time: love that! Glad you like the photo!!

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