Camp is all about stealing. Now, it is not the type stealing that you think, but it is stealing, none the less. I realized this as I was traveling about southern Africa over the last 10 days. I began to realize that I spend my time when out and about looking at the ways things are run, the ways things are built, the designs of buildings, and other ideas somebody else has come up with. For instance – while in Cape Town, South Africa last week, some friends were showing my wife and I the new stadium built to host the 2010 World Cup. It is an impressive stadium and apparently handled the throngs of crowds well. Beside the stadium, along the frigid Atlantic ocean, is a large park for people to picnic, play, and relax in. Two large playgrounds or jungle gyms caught my eye as they were constructed completely from trees and other natural materials. My immediate thoughts were, “How could we do something like this at High Point?”, and, “What else could you do with this concept of all natural materials?” So, basically, I was stealing someones architectural ingenuity and trying to find a way to use it at camp.
We do this constantly. A few years ago, we introduced a new way to do registration using “Fast Passes.” That idea was stolen directly from Disney World. A game we did for the teens two summers ago was stolen from the television show Minute to Win It. A recent concept for an indoor climbing wall was stolen from a local indoor climbing gym. A pastor who comes as a camp speaker is stolen for a week from his church. It is all thievery.
This type of theft is tolerated and even condoned and encouraged in the camping world. Many a great idea has stemmed from the ideas of others. Many a building has been built from another structures plans. Take something good and make it better. Make it more campish. We attend camp conferences where people sit around and throw out ideas specifically for other camp people to steal and develop on their own. And in the end, for all the stealing, the camp is a better place.
Now, we are not condoning criminal stealing. It is one thing to steal an idea (patents and copyrights aside) and change it to meet your needs, and it is something quite different to steal $1,000,000 and have it meet your needs…and wants! But, be assured, if there is a great idea out there and we can take it and change it into something that can be used for camp…we’re gonna get our hands on it. So… builders, comedians, chefs, businessmen, athletes, architects, singers, janitors, zookeepers, and bankers beware…we want what you got!