Camp Can Give You the Keys to Success

Posted October 7, 2013 • Share:
Camp can give you the keys to success!  Excerpted from a speech given by Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner at the 2001 American Camp Association's Tri-State Camping Conference. Camp can give you the keys to success "I remember my very first canoe trip.  I was terrified. We were venturing out into what seemed to be uncharted territory, perhaps never to be seen again. Every aspect of it was intimidating … but especially the idea that somehow our survival depended on us doing stuff and doing it together and doing it right.  Of course, steadily, terror gave way to triumph, and I returned with an indescribable feeling of achievement.  Many years later, I was a counselor helping to lead one of these expeditions." "But, oh, the lessons I learned. On these canoe trips, we could never survive the first day if we didn't practice teamwork, show initiative, handle adversity, listen well and, not least important, maintain a sense of humor." "May I repeat that list: practice teamwork, show initiative, handle adversity, listen well and maintain a sense of humor. I'm sure it will surprise no one in this room that these five attributes don't just apply to canoe trips.  They represent keys to success in one's career.  Indeed, they are keys to success in life. And, you just can't learn them spending your summers playing video games." Life lessons learned at the campfire. "Simply consider the lessons I was taught by the campfire.  Every time I was on fire detail, the situation and challenge was different.  But, every time the rich reward was the same as we simply sat and enjoyed our consuming creation.  And, there was one aspect in particular that never failed to intrigue me, and that was the process of seeing the single small flame of the match spread to the kindling and then the twigs and then the smaller branches and finally the larger logs.  It didn't dawn on me until years later, but this was the perfect metaphor for the creative process.  In much the same way, the fragile spark of an idea can spread to become a great work of art or a movie or a political movement or an automobile or a Space Shuttle or a new communications technology. But, these blazing achievements can only happen if the initial idea is cared for, protected, and nurtured until it is ready to spread. "Years later, I found myself running a network television division and then a movie studio and now an entire entertainment company. But, much of the success I've achieved can be traced to the direct and metaphorical lessons I learned in building those campfires.  I can hardly think of an aspect of my life that wasn't positively affected by my camping experience." campfire

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