Let’s consider Five Brutal Truths.
Brutal Truth #1 – It’s not about camp; it’s about making people better. To achieve this, we stand on three pillars of hope.
Brutal Truth #2 – We serve too few.
It is true that 10 million young people go to camp annually. This may sound impressive—but don’t be lulled into satisfaction. ACA camps only serve 3 million. To serve so few, suggests a self-serving small community.
Why shouldn’t we want to profoundly influence the 10 million?
Why shouldn’t we be concerned about the other 40 million between five and fourteen that don’t go to camp?
Brutal Truth #3 – Many parents do not embrace camp.
They suffer a lack of understanding or worse yet—fear. Far more parents today have not gone to camp—they are not inspired to “pass along a memory.” Far more parents define camp differently than those of us sitting in this room. Maybe that is part of the problem—we do not look like the parent of today or tomorrow. It appears we are serving an evaporating demographic, a shrinking minority of people. It begs the question, how do we need to change in order to change the thinking of others?
Brutal Truth #4 – Our profile doesn’t reflect the community at large, or in fact, the larger camp industry.
We don’t look like the world around us—the world we want to influence. We, in fact, look less and less like the world in which we live. To cling to a shrinking minority marketplace is done at the detriment of millions of kids who deserve a camp experience.
Brutal Truth #5 – Our brand, camp, is losing relevance.
If we don’t face the first four truths we risk losing all relevance. We can’t look like we did 100 years ago. Camp is a noun we no longer own, we don’t control the definition—people don’t know/understand the promise of camp. Saying camp give kids a world of good louder, adds no additional meaning.