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Camp Inspires Leaders! 🙋‍♀️

But what makes a leader?


When you think of great leadership, what characteristics immediately come to mind? 🤔


For us, it starts with the following definition of the word ‘lead’.


lead - noun


the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow


At camp, we love that everyone comes to us as unique individuals, with their own set of leadership traits already in practice, whether they’re aware of them or not. 


As staff, we lead with our own unique sets of skills, while leaning into the discovery and development of skills we covet. This sets the intention for how we interact with and empower our campers to understand their existing leadership qualities, while encouraging them to evolve their leadership traits during their time at camp.


It’s our belief that most of the skills associated with leadership float on a very diverse spectrum, and that no specific combination of skills is required to exhibit leadership. The sole trait we assert makes the most influential leaders is certainty in what one is doing.


How we might discover and express that certainty is where additional leadership traits enter the conversation.


When you think of additional leadership traits, you might gravitate towards things like confidence, communication, and decisiveness, or motivational, driven, and delegatory.


And those are certainly all great traits to have as a leader.


Could we also include characteristics such as personable, inspirational, passionate, empowering, accountable, collaborative, empathetic, self-aware, consistent, growth minded, and with integrity?


The answer, of course, is yes!


And there are probably a few others that you’d throw into that mix, am I right? Which leads us to the conversation about the spectrum of leadership and how that looks.

What if we aspired to have as many of these traits as possible, but understood that our combination of strengths as leaders are very specific to us, and don’t have to look exactly like the person next to us, so long as we lead from a place of certainty?


Understanding what we’re certain about is where it all needs to start, and camp has a very definitive way of encouraging that. We achieve this through the intentional creation of an environment where success isn’t measured in badges and certificates, but in finding true contentment and joy. At the core of this is our Camper Choice activity selection, which takes place every day, for the majority of the day’s activities. This allows campers to lean into things they already love, with encouragement to try things they may have interest in, in hopes they discover another certainty, or at least something that further defines existing ones. And when it comes to activities where the whole of camp participates, campers are encouraged to participate in ways that bring them the most joy.


From here, it’s all about our staff helping campers to identify and nurture existing leadership traits, while at the same time guiding them toward others that they might wish to develop. At camp, a lot of that happens naturally because of the depth with which people are able to connect in an environment like this, with the intention that we’ve set with our staff team long before a camper sets foot in base camp also playing an integral role.


So you’ve got certainty, now what?


Now it’s time to understand how you can uniquely share that certainty with others. For many, that’s not going to be standing up in front of the room giving an inspirational speech about the thing they’re certain about. So then how would someone lead without being able to tell their story?


Where I believe the challenge begins is in how we look for leaders to start with. We don’t often look to the quiet or content people as leaders, but why not? If we loop back on the definition of lead, and particularly this portion of it; an example for others to follow, we can quickly tune into how someone might lead without saying a word.


Do they show up consistently?


Do they approach challenging situations with empathy?


Do they consistently invest time and energy into a project in spite of the value others might place on it?


Do they have a skill or talent that speaks for itself, rather than needing to be spoken about?


Do they invite others to participate in activities because they want to share in the joy of the moment?


Are they self-aware enough to be accountable for their choices and actions?


And while not everyone will have all of these traits, nor may it look the same in how they showcase them, I think the point is clear that we must value these as traits of leadership as much as we may outward showings of confidence, motivation, drive, and inspiration.


I think the world just might be a much better place too if we had more people with balanced leadership traits at the helm.

Yours At Camp,


Jory Elliott

Founder & Director

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