Lessons from the Bottom Bunk, pt 1

The most important part of any camp schedule is what’s not written in the schedule.

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I’m spending two weeks at camp, so I thought I would share some insight from 18 years of being a camp sponsor. Share any tips you might have in the comments!

The most important part of any camp schedule is what’s not written in the schedule.

The youth camp we go to is easily one of my favorites for many reasons. But one of the best: there’s unofficially scheduled down time. That means there are a lot of gaps. It’s not a crazily paced day designed to wear everyone out. It’s designed to make the most of the time we have, but it’s also easy to miss.

That’s why you have to make the most of the schedule. Find the gaps and use them for conversations. Linger at a meal, sharing stories and laughter. Sit in the shade, making observations about life. Dominate 9 square, getting accused of being a bully. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t the best use of time.

But the truth is the same.

Any good camp will have downtime. And sometimes the downtime provides the best opportunities for life changing conversation. Keep that in mind.

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Time to Get Started

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This weekend was a remarkable weekend for me. There was no significant event that really happened. I had nothing on the calendar. But I had a few Audible credits. So I bought a book.

A few years back, during a guest talk by a leader I respect, I heard about John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership. It was intriguing, but it just sat in my brain for a few years. Then, on Friday, I redeemed an Audible credit for the book and started listening.

Early on he had a pdf included for the listener to work through. Because I’m trying to engage books more than finish them these days, I sat down and worked through the pdf. And my world was rocked.

I’ve lost sight of developing leaders the way I know I can (and should).

That got me thinking. I’ve said for a few years that as I talked to Youth Ministers about leadership, my first question would always be “What are you doing to develop student leaders.” The answer? Most of the time the response was an event or two they had students attend, maybe even a camp.

The sense I always got was everyone has developing leaders on their list, it’s just not close enough to the top to get our best energy. And that’s where I’ve been lately. I’ve been so focused on treading water, and honestly, getting my wits about me since starting my new position, that the difficult part of leadership development has gone by the wayside.

So let me ask you this question today: Are you developing the people you lead to become better leaders? Not just the ones who are easy to develop, but the ones that make you sweat thinking about trying to help them develop. Are you doing the difficult work of developing and leading and teaching and training? Are you willing to do so? What step can you take today?

Now, go lead.

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