What if that first hour of camp had gone wrong?

When I was a kid, I only attended one summer camp. (I won the very coveted “most improved bowler” award. Seriously.) On Father’s Day last weekend, my wife and I, along with some good friends, took our kids to summer camp, and boy was that different from what I remember. 

Our children just turned eight and ten and often get homesick when spending the night at a friend’s house, so you can imagine my anxiety about leaving our kids in the hands of strangers for seven days. Right from the start we were sizing the place up and we were blown away. You drive through this beautiful setting, give your child’s name to a young girl who tells you what cabin they are in and where to leave your luggage. You check your kid in, get them their name tag – which will be a new part of their wardrobe every day – show them the camp general store, and then run them by the cyber café where the staff teaches them how to send e-mail home to Mom and Dad (no iPhones, iPads, or iPods here, folks – can I get an AMEN?). After that INCREDIBLLY smooth process, you end up in the cabin where your kids will sleep (and hopefully shower), at which time you are reunited with their luggage, which has already been delivered.

What if that first hour of camp had gone wrong? Let’s just say we had a rude counselor showing us around, the cabins were dirty, or we had trouble checking in because they were so unorganized? There is no way we would have been comfortable leaving our kids if they didn’t execute on that first impression. So what is the first impression you are giving your customers? When people first see you online, does your personality represent your business the way it should? Are you really adding value and helping your customers learn more about your products or industry? Will they tell their friends about you because of the incredible service they had in your store? It is such a cliché and it is SO true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Don’t be a fool and look past this very basic business principle because you will do so at your own peril. If you can’t nail that great impression right from the beginning, you just end up TRYING to catch up, which is very hard to do. Make it easy on yourself and wow them from the very beginning.

Well, it is day two and we miss the kids a lot, but we know that camp is going to be a great experience for them. We got our first e-mail from my daughter today. I am not sure, but I think she misses us.

Subject: camp
Message: mom i really miss you i have gotten homesick and cried i really miss you nick is doing great.he was homesick to we have been fine.i really want to see you.iam adopting a wallibe.i cant want to see you love you i really miss you love gabby

It looks like we’ll be raising our very own “wallibe.”

What did you learn from your summer camp stories? Share your memories in the comments section.

One thought on “What if that first hour of camp had gone wrong?

  1. My 11 year old son and 8…sorry, 8 1/2 year old daughter went to their first church camp on Father’s Day. He is gone all week, she was there 1/2 of the week. We get a phone call Monday from a camp counselor that my son tripped running up some steps and did a full face plant into the steps. They were sure that his nose was not broken but it was bleeding pretty good, and not signs of a concussion.

    My lovely bride drives the 3 1/2 hours yesterday to pick up our daughter and of course check on the condition of her baby boy. She finds our son looking like he just got of of the ring with Mike Tyson. One side of his nose is swollen still, a big shiner under 1 eye and around the other eye the shiner is a little lighter. He stops in front his mother just long enough to give her a kiss and then says, “Mom, I gotta go. It’s time for chapel!” Not once did talk about how his nose (or entire face) hurting or the need to come home.

    A proud moment for me as my little man was able to “tough it out” through a vicious face plant! Mom on the other hand was a little heart broken that there was no need for some TLC.

    The daughter….she wanted to know if Mommy brought any of her friends for the long drive home.

    My only memory as a kid at camp was teaching myself to swim in the pool ,but always within reach of the side of the pool.

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