Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Painting Baseboards...and the Pursuit of Excellence

Recently we stayed at a downtown hotel in Atlanta. With 1,260 rooms and a wide range of conference center facilities, the hotel is huge. One day during the visit as my wife noticed a member of the maintenance staff painting the baseboards in the hallway where our room was located. She made the comment to him that painting the baseboards must be a big project.

His replay was remarkable and explained much about the quality of the hotel. He told her that the hotel repainted the baseboards in every hall with guestrooms every two weeks!  Their standard was that the scuffs and marks left by guest suitcases and housekeeping carts on baseboards were unacceptable. They regularly invested the time and money to attend to this small, but important detail. While guests are unlikely to not return to this hotel because of scuffed baseboards, the hotel's leadership understands the cumulative impact of hundreds of details on the guest experience. 

As I thought about the hotel and its baseboards I wondered what would happen if we as a camp placed the same focus on the small details. What would be the cumulative effect on our summer campers, environmental ed students and retreat guests? What would it take to mount such an effort? What would the extra time and effort (= money) cost? Would it be offset by a increase in attendance? Could we raise rates because of a higher perceived value? 

What can we learn from a hotel's baseboards?