I stopped at the Starbucks on Creedmor Rd. the other day in Raleigh to get my usual coffee beverage, venti Pike Place. It cost $2.05 and whenever I stop at Starbucks that is what I get, with a little room left for cream. As I was standing in line this morning I talked with the person in front of me about what they purchased (something way more technical than my order) which spurred a conversation with the person behind about their purchase, which quickly spread to a headline on the local newspaper which I was holding.
After I left Starbucks I was taking part in a panel discussion on connecting and building relationships in the community. As I was thinking about connecting I thought about my conversations at Starbucks. Everyone at Starbucks had something in common with me: we all drink coffee. It is easy to start up a conversation about favorite drinks, do you always get the same drink, is it a daily ritual, cold or hot beverages...you get the idea. As I think about how we connect with people it usually begins with asking questions to find out what it is that binds us together.
When a camper is dropped off on Sunday at our overnight camp or on a Monday morning at our day camp our staff jump in with questions that help connect them to the camper and then connect that camper to other campers. "What grade are you in?" "Fourth grade! Wow, I was in fourth grade once! " "Have you met Brian over here? He is in fourth grade too", "What are your favorite things to do after school?" "I love riding a skateboard too!"
This past weekend I was in Washington, NC (2 hours east of Raleigh) and I was doing a 3 day bicycling tour. At the first aid station at Goose Creek State Park I started talking to the volunteer who was handing out water and snacks. After 4 questions I was able to find out that he was a former camper at Kanata in the late 80's. Who would have thought that I would drive 2 hours across the state and then ride 15 miles to an aid station at a state park to find a Kanata camper? It all happened because I was looking for an opportunity to connect. Take the opportunity today to talk with the people around you that normally wouldn't. Ask questions, engage others and show you care. It's the Kanata way.
See you this summer.
Your Camp Director,