Apparently, No Thinking Required

The pre-dawn darkness is supposed to be one of life’s small pleasures--a time of peace and tranquility filled with the promise of the coming day.

Until recently, my pre-dawn ritual was pleasantly simple--a bowl of oatmeal with raspberries, a cup of coffee, a leisurely drive to the bus stop (to drop off my high school-aged son) and then the office, followed by a few precious moments of quiet prior to the arrival of my staff members.

I don’t think I truly understood how much I enjoyed this ritual until it was shattered, and I mean obliterated, by the arrival of my son’s learner’s permit.

Now I need those few minutes of peace before staff arrives to make sure all my pieces and parts are still in working order. This morning was a good example.

It had been three consecutive days of sitting in the passenger’s seat helping my son navigate the light to nonexistent traffic across town to the bus stop. Each day he improved. So much so, that the night before, I let him drive halfway home from his high school--which is about 40 miles away.

Again, he did well. So well, that I decided to scroll through the email on my phone as he backed out of the garage to begin our morning commute.

As I thumbed to my third message, I heard a grating sound followed by a thump. More perplexing, the car was still moving backwards.

“Dude, you just hit something. Why are you still moving?”

“No I didn’t. I’m still in the driveway.”

“Stop the car.”

He stopped.

“Didn’t you hear that sound and feel that thud?”


“And, you kept going?”


“Get out and see what you hit.”

So, my young charge got out and reported back that all was well, he just ran over the garbage cans Mom put out the night before.

He got back in, pulled forward, backed up--this time avoiding the garbage cans--and made it to the street. Only then did I realize he never actually picked up the garbage cans or the trash that had fallen out. So, he got out again, cleaned up his mess and off we went.

Needless to say, my phone stayed on the dash and my Dad radar went back up. We made it safely the rest of the way.

I bring this up because this is exactly the type of person you’re dealing with when you try to turn campers into junior staffers.

As you know, all is not lost, and more importantly, the fact that you have junior staffers actually speaks to the popularity of your camp and your program. I won’t ruin the rest of this topic with my ramblings; instead I suggest you flip to page 36 and read Chris Thurber’s take on the subject.

Once again, he turns in an excellent piece that will make you laugh and help you harness the power and creativity of your typical adolescent and keep your camp in one piece.

Because this is our annual staff training issue, you’ll also find a bunch of other stories sure to help you navigate the waters of senior staff, safety, risk management and more.

As usual, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth


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