One of my favorite clichés has to do with burning bridges. Or, put another way, it's not a good idea to burn them in a figurative manner.
These days it seems people are not only more likely to burn a bridge, but to haul explosives to the site and blow up the supports as well.
I'm not sure why that is, exactly, though it may have something to do with the increasing sense of entitlement, spurred on by armies of lawyers... "Have you been in an accident? Have you seen an accident? Have you almost been in or seen an accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your trauma..."
Our tolerance for pain and misfortune has decreased exponentially since a time when a bad day meant a wagon wheel stuck in the mud on Apache land.
These days, a bad cell phone signal has some of us enraged enough to call our lawyer (once we acquire a signal) to look into the possibility of suing anyone in the least bit involved with the sale of the offending phone.
The slightest perceived offense is enough to drive many over the edge and into a bridge-burning rage. I use the word perceived because there is no end to the troubles caused by miscommunication and hasty assumptions.
For whatever reason I suppose it's easier to live with quick conclusions than to spend time talking it over or finding out where the other person is coming from.
In my experience, however, it is time well spent, since you usually not only mend fences, but build a stronger relationship in the process.
In our relatively public positions as camp directors and magazine publishers, we're far more likely to be on the receiving end of a bridge-burning.
Our duty in those sporadic cases is to be persistent and persevere, and find a solution to whatever may be ailing the bridge-burner. After all, if we don't pursue it, we're also lighting a fire on our side of the river.
Another thing we can do is communicate with each other, sharing ideas, strategies and perspectives, as well as horror stories about the irate guest or parent who figured your purpose that season was to ruin their summer.
So we've set up an easy-to-use bulletin board at www.camp-business.com to help facilitate a North American children's camp information and idea exchange.
There's no registration required, or other hoops to jump through. Simply post a question, a story or an idea and interaction will follow.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or criticisms, or need anything, and I'll do the best I can.
Regan D. Dickinson
Phone: (830) 257-1012
Fax: (830) 257-1020
PO Box 291773, Kerrville, TX 78029