Recently I was at an automotive service business run by a past SpringHill camper. When I picked up my car I asked this SpringHill alum for a tour of his business. You see I was not only interested in learning about his business but more importantly I wanted to get a glimpse into the life of one of our past campers.
After the tour we stood in the middle of his shop floor and talked about his life as a young entrepreneur. Our conversation drifted to SpringHill and reminiscing about those summers when his parents would drop he and his brothers off at camp. As we shared those memories together I could see his eyes lighting up. That’s when he said –
“It’s funny you’re here and we’re talking about camp because I was just recently thinking about my camp experiences. It’s become clear to me just how important they were in my development as a person. I was a shy, quiet kid. But at camp I gained confidence to interact with others and build positive relationships.”
Hearing him say this while sitting in the middle of his impressive business, brought to life the reality I’ve built my vocation on – that summer camp is an incredibly spiritual, emotional, and social building experience. Camp is one of those milestone moments where people’s live’s takes a quantum step forward.
And this is why SpringHill is so committed to creating life-transforming summer camp experiences. We see no other short-term experience in the world that provides young people such a life-long payback than attending summer camp. If there were, trust me, SpringHill would offer it in a New York minute. But there just isn’t. There’s no other experience that provides the breath and depth of personal, long-term growth than summer camp.
Which means there is no better short-term investment with such a life-long payback that a person can make for the child they love then sending them to camp this summer.
I’m a student of leadership. I read leadership books, listen to leadership gurus and read leaders’ blogs. I’ve especially gained much insight by reading biographies of leaders from many fields, walks of life and historical periods such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.
In addition, as a benefit of my work at SpringHill, I have the privilege of spending time with incredible leaders from many leadership contexts and places in the world. And over the last couple of months I’ve been with more leaders than usual which moved me to ask “is there something all these leaders have in common?”
Through all my study and observation I became convinced there’s one quality every effective and enduring leader possesses.
It’s that they’re intensely curious. They desire (and maybe more accurately “need”) to learn and grow as people and as leaders so they can lead their organizations better and see those they lead grow as well.
I can’t think of an effective and enduring leader I’ve studied, seen or interacted with that didn’t have this quality as part of their being.
Just as every leader’s different, this quality – the desire to learn and this intense curiosity’s expressed differently.
Some leaders learn through experience such as benchmarking other organizations.
Most leaders read, which explains why the cliché “readers are leaders” resonates as true.
Many use coaches, mentors and other advisors to help them learn, grow and improve.
Yet regardless of the method of learning this quality’s still the same – they have this intense curiosity and an endless thirst to learn.
And for this reason it’s also the one quality that I will fight to have in my life for as long as I live.43.928283-85.286682