This post is part of a digital book club of summer camp directors and recreation professionals reading Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. To see all the posts in the series go to our linchpin start page. You are welcome to join in at any time.
Week 1: Introduction & The New World of Work
Pages 1 – 27
I have never thought of myself as an artist. After reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin, I’m beginning to think otherwise. He has defined art more broadly to now include ME, even though I don’t like to sing, draw, dance, or sculpt. I love working at a large summer camp for a few reasons, I am invigorated by solving logistical challenges, and helping people discover their unique talents and life’s work.
“Artists are the people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done.”
page 8 (Linchpin)
Seth Godin defines art on this blog post Making Art, as having three elements.
1. Art is made by a human being.
2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work.
How are you an artist and how does your current role at camp or work allow you to express your artistry? Or is your art silenced? Have you “traded your genius and artistry for stability?”
What Business Are You In?
A number of years back I heard a corporate talk about making sure your employees know what your mission is. Too many companies have mission, vision, and goal statements no one can recite. As a camp team we decided to come up with our own. Now, all the staff can tell you, “We are in the life skills business.” It serves as a reminder that we are always growing and learning and with each mistake comes a potential new life skill. Learning to show up for work on time while also getting enough sleep to function properly is a life skill. If I can help an individual learn more effective systems for getting where they need to be on time and with the proper supplies, I will have made a difference for a lifetime. Of course, those who are not ready for that life skill may need to work elsewhere until they become more proficient.
How do you help your staff understand that what they are learning at camp will apply to any job or career field so they don’t think they need to take that “internship” somewhere else?
Teach Campers To Be Artists
In addition to the basic life skills, we are also teaching campers and staff to be artists. Our campers are in training for jobs that are not even thought of yet. Working in a public middle school and public university, I am not confident that our educational system will be able to adjust. Sure there is a lot of great things going on in schools across the country, I am afraid a lot of it is shiny technology without the creative reasoning and thinking skills that should come before it. Teachers are hampered by the system they have to work in. Summer camps and recreation programs are uniquely positioned to teach kids creativity and artistry, and it doesn’t take a shiny computer to do it. “We are training laborers to be part of this new workforce where remarkable and indispensable are rewarded.” page 14 (Linchpin)
What unique features do you have in your program that are teaching campers and staff to be artists? Do you think you can you teach people to be indispensable and remarkable or is it a talent you expose? How to you teach it?
Featured Book Club Member
Last week David Betz from CampTV sent us unboxing photos of his Linchpin book. It started a trend and so I will feature photos each week from book club members reading their book. You do need to get yourself in a picture with your book. Mike D’Avria sent in this picture of reading his book on his iphone using the Amazon Kindle app. Mike is Executive Editor of CampLeadership.org, a fantastic site with resources for the camp and recreation professional. I especially like the site’s song videos since I work at a camp that doesn’t sing much (long story). Do check out Mike singing “Wishy-Washy Woman.” Well done!