Take A Bite From Apple

Mike Markkula isn’t a household name. Yet millions of people in the world are impacted by his influence. Perhaps you’d be more familiar with his business partners--Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Is your camp empathetic and focused?

Markkula was an original investor in Apple. He was responsible for many aspects of what Apple is today. Most importantly, one document: The Apple Marketing Philosophy . This one-page paper, better known as a manifesto of sorts, stressed three points:

Empathy: Markkula wrote, “We will truly understand their (the customers’) needs better than any other company does.”

Focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.”

Impute: “People DO judge a book by its cover,” Markkula wrote. “We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”

Here’s my reflection for camp owners and directors:

First: Is my camp empathetic?

Does it truly understand what the customers, both parent and camper alike, are looking for? If my answer to the question “What is a parent looking for?” does not include the words “safe,” “professional,” “opportunity to learn new skills,” and “make new friends,” then now would be a good time to rethink “camp empathy”.

Second: Is my camp focused?

We are as proud of what we say “no” to as we are of what we say “yes” to. As a camp director, I get so many ideas and opportunities that I have to practice the art of elimination. Gary Forster once told me (and many others I would guess) that “summer camp is your bread and butter; don’t be distracted by trying to be a bed and breakfast.” It was sound advice for my camp and myself.

Third: Does my camp impute my desired qualities?

Slipshod is a method of work that is characterized by lack of care, thought, or organization. Everything from website to social network posts, from brochures to the entrance of camp, should be done to impute creativity and professionalism. Slipshod is not an option for my camp or yours.

Let’s progress forward toward Summer 2013 with empathy, focus, and imputing our camps’ desired qualities.

Cory Harrison has directed resident camp programs for more than 10 years with The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Currently, he is the Director of the YMCA Camp Benson in Northwest, IL. He is a life-long camper, an avid reader, and daily cereal eater. Reach him via Facebook: www.facebook.com/coryharrisoncampdirector