This weekend millions of people will tune in to watch college basketball's Final Four. They'll see one team put in 40 minutes of effort that will lead to a national championship. The actual championship game, however, is only a very small portion of the total effort it takes to be a champion.
The road to the championship requires three important activities beyond the game itself: practicing skills, building strength and increasing knowledge. Countless hours are spent in the gym mastering skills like rebounding. Through countless repetitions these skills become almost automatic. Along with time in the gym, players spend huge amounts of time training to build strength, stamina and quickness. On top of their physical preparation, champions spend time learning. They watch film of themselves to learn from their mistakes. They study their opponent to identify strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.
In many ways leadership resembles the Final Four. As leaders we'll have a few high visibility moments when people notice and recognize our leadership. The reality, however, is that the public leadership moment is built on a foundation of practice, strength and learning. The skills we use as a leader such as communicating or providing feedback, need to be honed through repeated practice. We also need to create strength. Strength comes through exercising our authority in ways that build credibility and trust. It also comes through building relationships. Finally as a leader, we need to be constantly learning. We need to be looking for new ideas and techniques. We should be reflecting on our leadership, identifying what is and isn't working and then adapting.
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.