Net Effect #40: Former Camp Staffers Share How Working at Camp was a Valuable Career Investment!

Watch the interview here:

“I will always be given the direction and resources I need”

About Our Guests in this episode:

Guest speakers representing six different Christian Science camps discuss how they developed transferable career skills while working as a camp counselor or staff member. They share impactful events from their own careers directly related to their past experience serving at camp, and how this experience has been a blessing to them and the world.

Morgan Anderson, Media Producer, The Christian Science Publishing Society
Staff Alum of The CedarS Camps, Lebanon, MO
In his role as a media producer at The Mother Church, Morgan creates audio podcasts, video programs and live events that help to communicate the healing message of Christian Science. He has traveled around the world with his camera and microphone during his 20 year career, speaking with individuals whose lives have been transformed by the Christ. Morgan spent many summers at Cedars as a camper, a counselor and program director and now serves on the Board.

Tom Crow, Regional Director of Diamond V for Latin America
Staff Alum of Adventure Unlimited, Buena Vista, CO
Tom manages Diamond V’s animal nutrition business and sales in 15 Latin American countries. He is an experienced business leader who has held successful positions in management, business development, strategy and finance positions in both large and small companies. Diamond V delivers natural, science-based, sustainable technologies that improve animal health, protect the environment and mitigate food safety risks.

Laura Ann Johnson, Human Resources Training Specialist at Cherry Republic
Staff Alum of Camp Leelanau & Kohana, Maple City, MI
Laura Ann has held several roles during her tenure at the Cherry Republic, including in marketing, retail, and working directly with the company’s president and CEO. Prior to joining Cherry Republic, she spent five years as the director of Camp Leelanau’s Outdoor Center, working with schools and professionals all across Michigan. Laura Ann holds a bachelor’s degree in educational studies from DePauw University and is a member of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes board of directors.

Ricky Moore, Nutrition and Health Coach/Asset Care Agent at OneAmerica Financial Partners
Staff Alum of Crystal Lake Camps, Hughsville, PA
As a nutrition coach, Ricky helps people labeled as diabetics reduce and eventually eliminate their medication, while also selling life insurance. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Ricky attributes his time and experiences at Crystal Lake Camps, from 1989 to 2000, to be the most inspiring period of growth in his life. He says he continues to reap the benefits from the skills he learned at Crystal Lake Camps.

Shannon Nordling, Christian Science Nurse
Staff Alum of Camp Bow Isle, Vancouver, Canada
Shannon Nordling is a Christian Science nurse and mom living in Northern California. She completed the Christian Science Nursing Arts training program at Arden Wood in San Francisco, where she then worked in a number of capacities, including as the Director of Christian Science Nurses’ Training. Before moving to San Francisco in 2014 she grew up in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and attended Camp Bow-Isle as a camper and staff member for many years. After university, Shannon’s camp counseling experience helped her navigate various jobs and career decisions before moving to California. Her husband began as the Director of Camp Bow-Isle in 2019. Shannon looks forward to moving back to Canada soon and fulfilling her lifelong dream of living at Camp all year long!

Will Smith, Managing Director of Investments and Asset Management at New + Found
Staff Alum of Camp Newfound Owatonna, Harrison, ME
New + Found is a St. Louis-based design, construction, and real estate development and investment firm started in founded in 1983 by Will’s dad, Steve Smith. In 2019 after living in and gathering inspiration from cities around the country, Will joined his dad to create a fully integrated real estate solutions and management company. Both Will and his dad share a passion for development and a love of people. The company’s name, New + Found, gives homage to their passion for historic spaces that are often overlooked and undervalued.

Part of our Net Effect Conversations series: https://abfcareeralliance.org/category/net-effect/

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Transcript of episode:

Robin: Welcome to the Net Effect, Career Conversations and Connections. We’re here with episode number 40, and we are offering some of the same things that Jesus probably said to his disciples when they were out fishing. We’re looking for some of those ideas that he offered them. When he said, Hey, I see you’ve been working all night. You might want to think about casting that net on the right side.

Today you’re in the right place and we have six very special guests that are representing each of the Christian Science camps around the country and one from Canada.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time going through their bios, they’re on the website. They’ll all get a chance. You’ll get to meet them. Talk to them a little bit once we get rolling, but I did want to give a quick shout out.

Morgan Anderson is a media producer from the Christian Science Publishing Society, and is an alumni of the Cedars camps in Lebanon, Missouri.

Tom Crow, regional director of Diamond Five or V if you choose, for Latin America and is an alumni of Adventure Limited in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Laura Ann Johnson, human resources training specialists at Cherry Republic is from Camp Leelanau and Kohana in Maple City, Michigan.

Ricky Moore, nutrition and health coach asset care management at OneAmerica Financial Partners is from Crystal Lake Camps. He’s an alumni with staff there in Hughesville, Pennsylvania.

Shannon Nordling, Christian Science nurse, alumni of Camp Bow Isle in Vancouver, Canada.

And finally Will Smith, managing director of investments and asset management at New + Found, the alumni from Camp Owatonna and Newfound in Harrison, Maine.

So here’s what we’re doing. I asked each one of the camp directors to invite an alumni to speak today and talk about some of the soft skills that they learned when they were a counselor at camp. What some of those soft skills were, for instance, curiosity and leadership and work ethic.

The reason that I did that is because there’s a real value today that corporations assess on soft skills.

This is actually a recent job posting from Microsoft, where it’s a full-time opportunities for student and recent graduates in case you can’t see the screen business programs and operations.

So this was a real job posting. And in that job posting, Microsoft actually says, qualifications for operations matter. And ideal candidate demonstrates leadership skills and capabilities, diverse complex environments incorporating both team and individual dynamics, proven ability to communicate, organize written verbal.

And the reason I bring this forward is because those are the kinds of skills that you acquire when you are a counselor or staff member at a Christian Science camp. And it behooves me to say, I value that, obviously these folks are going to give you their stories and how valuable that was to them.

It’s something to see that a company that’s a Fortune 100 company, one of the finest companies in the world thinks so highly of soft skills. And I can’t think of a better place than working at camp to acquire some of these skills. So without further ado, we’re going to jump into our first panelists, Mr. Anderson.

So tell us a little bit Morgan, about what your involvement with Cedar’s camps was like.

Morgan: First of all, I can totally co-sign on everything you just said there, Robin, in terms of these kinds of skills that in my experience really developed, by my work as a counselor and a program director at Cedars.

I really started as a camper through junior staff and senior staff, and eventually when I was the program director for the high school program at camp when I was in college, myself, both learning learning skills in my classroom, but then coming to a decision point each year – do I want to follow the rest of my fellow students and go intern at a television station or radio station as I was in mass communications, or do I want to go to camp?

And every spring I was kind of faced with that same decision, and I’m really glad that I kept opting to go back to camp because while I may have really not gotten the skill of fetching coffee or filing or whatever, I feel like the skills that I developed of time management, the importance of planning, there’s no shortcuts to planning.

You have to do the work. I think these things now, they call it adulting. And I really appreciate that at Cedars, at what now seems like a very young age, I was put in a position of responsibility where I needed to exercise those soft skills. I needed to develop them.

If I was now looking back as somebody who’s in a position to hire people, or train people, if I had to create an environment that would develop things like the soft skills that you mentioned, I would create a camp. There’s no better laboratory to develop these personal skills, these leadership skills.

And we call them soft skills. I think we should find a better word for that because they are so important. But I think one of the things that I really gained an appreciation for as a counselor, in a program director, a leader, was a sense of responsibility.

And of course in the usual ways that you would think about that – you’re responsible for people you’re responsible for a curriculum or program. You’re responsible for getting people out of their bunks and into the mess hall. All of those things that you need to do.

As onerous is that sense of responsibility can be, that to really understand that sense of responsibility, isn’t totally shouldered on yourself. Now, obviously you do everything as a team. No one person is leading a program or, a cabin or whatever group that is.

The importance of your team, and the people that you work with, and relying on other people. But also the sense in thinking about responsibility is that taking on personal responsibility is really something that we do to ourselves.

And it really doesn’t help the situation, but, instead relying on those around you, but also relying on a higher power, a spiritual power, in my case, thinking about a true sense of responsibility and handing that over to God that as I’ve learned all my life as a Christian Scientist through Sunday School and, and going to camp.

I think that has been so transferrable for me, in a professional environment, because as great as those responsibilities felt when I was 22, 23 years old, now, when I’ve been working professionally for 20 years, the responsibility only grows. And if you kind of looked at that totally at face value, it could crush you.

It’d be, I can’t do that, I have to step away from that. But, the lesson that I learned as a camp counselor is that I will always be given the direction, the support, and the resources I need to be able to move forward in that responsibility. Trusting in that.

The biggest learning I had as a young staff member at Cedars is that, these skills are so important, but that, trying to falsely shoulder responsibility in a way that just to try to humanly bruise through it, wasn’t going to help me succeed.

And that has served me so well.

Robin: Morgan in your role as a media producer for the Mother Church, do you have like a quick short example of something that comes up on a day to day or has come up where you’ve drawn from that experience?

Morgan: Sure. We do lots of events at the Mother Church from the Annual Meeting of the Church through, youth summits and everything like that. When there’s a deadline or a point in time, or even every day, the Monitor doing a podcast every day, deadlines can really feel like, Hey, it’s time to, it’s go time, and if I fail, it’s ruined.

Nothing that I do at the Mother Church happens in a vacuum, without other people, without the team that supports these events alongside of me and learning to trust your team and to come together and really function harmoniously is something that I first really was a part of and got a, I got a taste of working as a counselor at, at Cedars.

Robin: Those are great experiences and great examples of how that can apply to a dynamic role like you have at the Mother Church.

Mr Crow. It’s your turn now. So I’m going to pass it over to you and, and, and Tom is regional director, as we talked about earlier, and he’s representing Adventure Unlimited today.

So tell us about your relationship with camp.

Tom: I was really fortunate to start going to camp when I was a teenager and I spent several years as a camper at Adventure Unlimited. I went the first summer, joined the river rafting program, got absolutely hooked, and then went back a few more years as a camper, and then had the privilege to work on staff there, also in the river rafting program.

The way it works is, after you spend a few years in a program, you may have the chance like I did, to then lead the staff of the program. So towards the end of my time spending summers at AU, I had the privilege of leading the river rafting program as the program head.

Robin: In your work there, the years that you spent there, tell us a little bit about some of the soft skills, some of those things that you kind of latched on to that have helped you in your professional life.

Tom: I could probably spend the whole hour talking about just my experience. I think like many of the panelists on this call, you learn a lot about yourself, what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, what you’re good at, what you’re not good at. And I think that’s a lot of the raw material.

It’s helpful to chart a course through a career that’s rewarding. I think for me also thinking back on my camp experience, just learning about myself, but learning how to work with other people, working on teams and leading teams was something that was extremely valuable for me. I say that generally, and then I can also think back often, about specific experiences that I had that were great learning points for me.

One in particular, I guess I’d thought I’d share was the first year that I became the program had. I’d spent years on the river, in the mountains there, learning the skills, learning how to be a very capable guide. And then it was my chance to actually lead the team.

You spend a week or so at the start of the summer working with just staff on training and preparing for the rest of the summer when campers come. And so we’d take runs down the river each day, and when you go river rafting, you tend to hit rocks, and you get stuck on rocks, and so there’s regular problem solving opportunities in getting boats, unstuck and addressing the challenges.

Several days into the staff training period, a new guy that was just learning, I think it may have been their first year at Adventure Unlimited, came up to me and asked, kind of flat out, do you not trust me? Do you not think I’m capable?

It really took me aback and kind of hearing this person’s perspective and then reflecting more, I realized that when this person would get into a challenge on the river, get stuck, my instinct was to help and to jump in and help and do something.

And I think for that person, it felt like they didn’t have the chance to learn and work through it. And it’s a simple concept, but at the time, it really resonated with me and kind of stung because I wanted to do such a good job and be so helpful. And it was a really great lesson that sometimes being helpful and being a good leader is not going in solving people’s problems, but helping give them the space, the support, the training, the coaching, so that they can go and learn how to do it themselves and really shine and build that confidence and capability.

So I think back to that regularly.

Robin: I just like to pass it off to the group, does anyone share what Tom’s saying, does that resonate with anyone?

Ricky: Absolutely, it does. Especially regarding the the leadership qualities. There was a certain amount of… I don’t want to say the word pressure, but like an expectation that whatever the challenge is, It can be done. There was no question as to whether or not it can be done.

It was just up to you to figure out what you need to do on your own to help you meet the goal or the challenge of whatever was going on. And then knowing that you have people in the background, your counselor, your friends to assist you. So there’s a certain sense of leadership just based on the expectation of completing the goal.

Without question I think is is a indirect skill of of being a leader at camp.

Robin: Anyone else?

Will: I would also chime in on the leadership point. I’ve been thinking about in a work setting, when you’re managing people, generally the people that you’re managing, as their boss, they have to listen to you.

When you’re a camp counselor, you’d think that you have authority over your campers, and that they would by default, listen to you, but that doesn’t always happen. In a work setting, you have tools, you have, if it gets to a certain point, you let them go or other kinds of incentives and disciplinary measures.

In camp, a lot of it is the way you’re speaking the way you’re treating the campers, the way that you’re working with them, and trying to help develop them. So all the soft skills around motivation and encouragement and building an environment where they can thrive. So many of those, I think, directly compare, even though you’re dealing with children in a very different kind of person than in an employer setting, I think a lot of the soft skills transfer over.

Robin: Laura, it’s your turn. Laura is from Leland Kohana and so graciously joined us this afternoon. So take it away.

Laura: Well, thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be here and speak with you all. My tenure at camp started when I was nine, and I spent the next 20 years actually there in different capacities.

So went through a camper, CT, I was on staff. I was head of the trips program for a long time, and then I actually decided to stay and be the director of the outdoor center. Which has all of the off season, non summer programming for the camps.

I did that for about five and a half years, and then hopped over, decided I loved Northern Michigan, which was very surprising to me, and I’m now working in the HR department at Cherry Republic, which is a consumer goods company.

I’ve kind of written down some other things. I think creativity is a big one that camp taught me in problem solving that sometimes you got to get really creative.

I remember a trip I was on and the camper forgot the butter, and we had to figure out how to cook everything without butter. And you get really creative with that type of stuff. That’s a skill you learn. And then you go into kind of non-camp world, and there’s a butter example.

Somebody forgets to, send out the email to the whole company for a meeting. And you’ve got to pivot and be creative. I think it also taught me that adversity and challenges can be really fun.

I remember having a conversation with myself and I think it was at camp where it was like, I don’t need to be stressed about this because it’s going to work out and I’m going to rise to the challenge and look back on it and hopefully be really proud of myself and the campers around me and my staff .

Camp definitely teaches you to do your best. To not do something halfway, but to really put your heart and soul into it and know that you’re going to reap the benefits and feel really good about what you’ve done.

Something else that I think camp taught me is just positivity, being that positive person.

People often will say to me, you’re so happy all the time. Leave it to you to figure out how to be happy in this hard situation. And in my head, I’m like, well, yeah, cause I do my daily study and it’s prayer and Christian Science. I don’t necessarily say that to the people, but I mean, it’s true, right?

When you have this solid foundation, there’s no reason not to be, happy and positive and it’s genuine. It’s not kind of a mamby pamby positivity. People are attracted to it. There’s something different about you.

Those are some things that camp definitely gave me and I use in my day-to-day life.

I just did a training demo today with my team. And the first thing they said after it, it was a very thrilling training about employment law and paperwork. And we finished the training and I thanked them and they said, that was so much fun. You can make anything fun, and make people feel welcome and excited to be around you.

Those are some skills that definitely I learned at camp.

Robin: In that training session today I’m thinking, I wonder if Laura Ann ever thought that she would be sitting here in front of a group drawing from some of those skills of what do we do without butter kind of a thing, right?

Laura: Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know.

Probably at the time, no. You’re so in the moment, when you’re in your twenties. It’s funny those memories that stick with you and how am I going to make this fun? How are we going to cook without butter?

Robin: Anyone else had to cook without butter?

Shannon: Definitely. Yeah, totally had to cook without butter.

I just loved what you were saying, Laura, about that sense of joy, and all of us who’ve worked at camp can totally say that that’s a huge part of camp. It’s just joy to be doing the work you’re doing. And it’s fun, cause you’re singing camp songs, being silly and running around in the woods, but I’ve definitely taken that with me as well.

And been able to impart that when I’m teaching something that might be a little dry in my nursing practice or, a staff meeting that needs to be run and trying to find a way to hook and engage people so that they also have fun is such a useful skill in the workplace.

Robin: I think it really is in particular nowadays, thinking about where people are and how everyone’s having to adjust, how do you find the joy in that?

As a camp counselor, you may have been up all night with some camper, and you were on cabin duty that morning, and you’re having to clean the cabin. And so all these things get thrown at you and you still have to find a way to make it fun. Right.

I mean, you still have to find your joy. So I love that. That’s such a wonderful example.

Ricky’s representing Crystal Lake Camps. Tell us about your experience at Crystal Lake.

Ricky: I had the fortune of going there at an early age. I was nine years old when I first went to Crystal Lake Camp. What stuck out to me was just an environment of a purpose of positivity of purpose and, and goodwill everywhere.

As I continued to go to the summer camp to Crystal Lake, as a camper, you learn skills, not just as staff, but even as a camper, you learn how to be productive just as we were talking in a fun way.

And so what I took to heart, I remember as a kid was that this is the place to, first of all, have fun as a kid, obviously, but also you realize that there’s a sense of purpose, that the best way for you to always feel at a place of peace is to contribute something positive of yourself, to have a goal that you’re completing either individually for yourself or within the team of your campers or staff.

That resonated with me little by little until the resolve and the conviction of all the things that you do kind of like stays with you. And then when you get to the point where you’re taking the LT class of CIT class the course, to be staff, it sort of instilled in you the the lessons that you have learned.

When I say lessons, I mean figuring out the fact that, well, maybe I didn’t feel like swimming today, or maybe I didn’t feel like going horseback riding today, or I was in no mood to hike seven miles here or, or eight miles there, but you make the best of the moment.

I think my early experience with Crystal Lake Camp is going through adversity by realizing what you can do to enjoy the present time, enjoy the moment.

You acclimate yourself to being ready for anything that’s thrown at you because the first thing that’s probably thrown at you is your thought that, well, maybe this is not ideal for me to do, and maybe I don’t want to do it… how can I adjust to allow myself to enjoy it?

What I remember as a camper was constantly thinking, how can I make this work when we need to have fun?

And then you realize you don’t have to do that anymore because all the adversity through your thoughts of maybe this is something that you don’t want to do, you kind of figure out a way to rise to the adversity and overcome the adversity.

To me, that ‘s a very lifelong lesson that’s especially important as an adult in your everyday work. You face different types of adversity, of course, no matter what you’re doing, whatever it is that you’re doing in your work, you face different adversity.

When you’re going through the CIT course, and you’re learning how to relate to campers, it’s fun to get a sense of communication. How can you best communicate with campers that are not on the same page as you, maybe staff that are on the same page with you and you’re working out ways to get things done.

There’s a lot of lessons that you can learn from day one as a camper to when you’re there as staff to figure out the best way to complete goals is to not shy away from the challenge, not shy away from the adversity, but to see how you can make yourself better by going through it without doubt and fear.

And that’s key in your life as an adult as well.

Robin: I keep hearing this word adversity, and it seems that kind of a resounding thing that probably each one of you found you had to overcome some of those things that were adverse and maybe little simple things, but maybe some big things.

Does anyone have any thing to add to Ricky’s comments about that sense of communication learning to communicate with, young people can be a real, real eyeopening and learning experience that would seem to me, would transfer directly into working with people out in the world, particularly today.

Anyone have anything to comment, anything to say about that?

Morgan: I think we call it cooking without butter.

Robin: That’s right.

Morgan: I totally agree that adversity can come at us in any number of ways. As I mentioned earlier, the laboratory that is camp in a very practical way not just practically taking care of children, leading children, but also practically of doing those other things of cooking and cleaning and all of that, but just also practical Christianity, whether it’s contributing to that atmosphere that love of your fellow man and even practical Christian Science as Christian Science camps really put into practice.

I don’t know any other place that you would develop those kinds of life lessons.

Well, Shannon, it’s your turn, representing that beautiful place in the Northwest, Bow Isle. Tell us a little bit about your experience with camp.

Shannon: Like most of our other panelists, I kind of grew up going to camp. I started at a young age, and I grew up in the area of Camp Bow Isle itself. So it was an easy trip for me and my parents actually went to that camp when they were going on from a family thing. As I did all my years of camp I just loved it so much and dreamed of becoming a counselor.

Then did me and my CIT year counseling training and then worked as a full counselor for a number of years until I basically transitioned into Christian Science nursing through college and everything. At Camp Bow Isle, we’re sort of a small, but mighty operation. So you basically become a counselor and then you’re the counselor or you are the director.

There’s no like program heads or anything like that. But I think that was really special for me because I got to be just a staff member, you got to be very integral and everything that’s going on in the leadership that’s taking place day to day, moment to moment, the last minute decisions. So, Oh no, it’s raining on beach day, what do we do? And little things like that, that I got to really be part of as a young person, which I think Morgan brought up at the beginning, just that sense of value and responsibility and love.

So I did that all through college. And then upon graduating, I explored a couple of different avenues, further schooling, sort of random jobs I was interested in.

But throughout that time, and as a camp counselor, I always thought about how this little voice telling me you should try Christian Science nursing. And eventually I did after about a year and a half of doing different jobs and exploring a little bit, I really felt led to that next. And I took the training program in San Francisco, took some courses at the Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association in Boston and finished the training in about two years and then did a number of jobs at Arden Wood which is the facility in San Francisco, where I trained.

Right now I’ve stepped away a little bit. I’m a mom and I’m working as a private duty Christian Science nurse.

Robin: Shannon, we certainly have an incredible need for Christian Science nurses. What I loved about your kind of career pathway is all the different aspects of Christian Science nursing.

There’s a real career path there, right? It seems like there’s a lot of opportunity for someone, if that’s something that they have an inkling towards, or even to, to think about. Well, maybe tell us a little bit about that and your experience, and was that a surprise to you?

Shannon: Definitely. I tried it as, I wouldn’t say a whim. It felt very purposeful, but I thought, well, I’ll try it, and maybe later after I do other careers, I’ll really get into it. I think anyone that’s interested in camp counseling has some really sort of innate qualities of helping others and a love for Christian Science and sharing and selflessness that lend themselves so naturally to Christian Science nursing.

And I think that’s really what lit that fire in me originally. I was just thinking how can I keep doing a job like this, a camp counselor, just always? I started the course. I thought I’d just get my feet wet and try it. And it was hard. It was hard work and there was a lot of obstacles to overcome like we all have when we enter new career paths

There was the sense of purpose and the sense of work ethic that I gained at camp and seeing through the adverse situations and continuing to work. And eventually it just really unfolded as something I loved and, graduated and very quickly was given opportunities to take on new challenges, work in the visiting service to learn how to mentor others, to instruct them eventually to like lead a department all within a pretty short period of time.

I see that just as God’s unfoldment, never my ambition, so to speak. I’ve been so grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned in the ability to give within the movement of Christian Science and just to give to your fellow man, we all have that desire to help others.

It’s really fulfilled that for me.

Robin: You used an interesting word there, ambition. I wonder if any of you would say that you helped either find ambition or you saw a little bit, or you learned about ambition or did camp, in the roles and the things that you did even as a counselor, or, I mean, as a camper, did any of that help with, motivation or inspiration, or maybe give you some confidence to do, like Shannon did, explore different opportunities that maybe you might not have had you not had that kind of opportunity for growth in that role as a counselor, anybody like to comment about that?

Ricky: I think if you’re in a world where you can try new things, you’re going to find something that you naturally tend to gravitate to. The ambition part, it seems like, Oh, you’re really ambitious. Cause you’re going after something, if I would say that’s sort of like a it’s a natural, it’s not really work or effort involved.

It’s just a natural energy that you have from doing something that you enjoy. And you find out about by having the courage to go outside of yourself and try new things. So it’s a natural exuberance that can be translated to ambition to others.

Robin: I also think, my observance I’ve been around camps all my life was a camp counselor camper as well, and one of the things I’ve I’ve observed when I have attended staff meetings with the counselors and how the camp directors do such a wonderful job, and the program heads, of really shepherding and, mentoring and guiding and, helping to really look at things from our perspective, that’s Biblical based, that has a Christianly scientific approach.

And I wonder if when you were counselors, found your own sense of faith, your own sense of your scriptural acumen, did that increase, did that grow? Did that benefit you, and has that translated over into your professional life?

Morgan: Yes, I would say just thinking of back to what Ricky was saying, I think of the term that people talk about that people wearing different hats, and I feel like one of the things that I learned, as a camp counselor, is that in a situation like that, you have to wear different hats. You can’t just say, Oh, I only do this.

Or I don’t clean the kitchen or whatever, you have to wear different hats. And that is absolutely 100% transferrable to out in the world. It’s again, it’s about that sense of responsibility that like, I can do it and I can wear different hats. I volunteered to wear different hats because I’m curious.

I wanna, I wanna learn that these are all skills and qualities that come from, from in my experience have come from my camp counselor days.

Robin, you were kind of pointing it back to Christian Science. I think what’s so important is that at camp, in my experience, there’s the empowerment that you can do anything.

You can wear all those different hats and the space to explore what those different hats that you want to, to wear. That’s totally, as we’re talking about, transferring skills from being a camp counselor to your career, that’s absolutely 100%.

Robin: Tom, would you agree with that?

I think about our whole theme of the Net Effect is casting your net on the right side. I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed, I’ve been a part of some of those staff meetings where there’s some pretty tough issues that come up and that you have to face and you’re learning how to walk through that pathway from a human perspective. It really is being ushered and led from a divine perspective.

Any thoughts about that?

Tom: Yeah. I think one of the really wonderful things about the camp experience is experiencing it individually and personally as well as seeing it with others is seeing people stretch well beyond what you or they think they’re capable of.

I think seeing that over and over and over, and just having that, I guess the concept of people having this deep, deep reservoir of ability of wisdom of creativity and having it not just come from themselves, but when you rely on spirituality, metaphysics, seeing that extra stretching and, and then having the confidence and how that works, I think has been really powerful.

When you move into a career and again, you apply it for yourself, but then you also have that expectation for others as well.

Robin: You’re kind of in one of those places right now in your role where, you’re having to cover areas of the world that you can’t go to and be in person.

You’re having to find some creative ways to communicate and get your goals and objectives done. How do you do that? How has some of that transferring into your day-to-day life?

Tom: There’s probably a lot of things I applied from camp. I currently lead a team throughout Latin America, Mexico down to Brazil. Especially nowadays, with no travel and I don’t know, Portuguese either, so there’s a number of human barriers at the moment that you’d think would inhibit how we can work together and and grow as a business, as a team. I think Does it reflect back that the ability to really listen to people and form bonds and maybe express discernment and wisdom.

Also, growing into the ability to support and coach and empower others as opposed to trying and go and do things yourself and fix things yourself has been really critical in my current role.

Robin: Anyone else like to add anything before we bring Will up?

Okay. My friend, tell us about your relationship with Newfound Owatonna.

Will: Similarly to everyone, I was practically a lifer. I started there when I was seven and then was a camper for the following 10 years. Could only stay away a year and then came back as a counselor.

And then a few years later it was, I was program director. There’s many different ways in which my experience at camp, both as a counselor, and program director, directly prepared me for my current job. And I remember in college, thinking about whether or not I wanted to go to camp or take an internship.

I went to a college where everyone was doing internships after their freshman year, everyone was doing externships. It was about padding that resume as much as you could throughout college. And here I was saying, I wanted to go up to a summer camp and hang out on a boat all summer long.

And I’m thinking, would that prevent me from achieving the ambitions that I had for myself and I couldn’t be more grateful that I was listening and heard and follow that guidance to go to camp and be a counselor and later a program director.

Robin: Some of the qualities and some of those skills that you acquired, tell us a little bit about those things that you have been able to take with you and that you gleaned developed, learned, and have gone into your professional life.

Will: I thought a lot about work ethic, and how, when you’re at camp, you’re never really off. Yes, you have a day off or, or a night off, but when you compare that to a more traditional role, a nine to five or, or an hourly role, whether that’s nine to five or more or less you, you have times when you can go home and decompress and think about other things.

When you’re at camp, from the second your eyes go to close to, then you wake up, you’ve got campers there. You’ve got people that, you need to take care of. Your day starts really early in the morning and, and ends at night. And it’s not just that it’s a long day.

There’s a real need to be thinking about others and thinking about where you can take care of things and stay on top of things and be prepared and, and stay flexible and, and all of these skills that you’re definitely not learning or running errands for people in an internship at the very least.

But it, it’s forcing you to think ahead and think about preparing and, and staying ahead of things. I think about now how a lot of our lives have changed and our work lives have changed in the last year with the pandemic and how we’ve had to stay flexible. We’ve had to really think about, where’s the future headed and get out ahead of it, and in front of it.

A lot of us have had to work a lot harder than when everything was kind of smooth sailing. And so I think camp really prepares you to be okay, Thinking on your feet. I also thought a lot about teamwork and I don’t think that there’s many jobs now that you can do that are completely on just one person.

At camp, whether it’s in the cabin and you’re trying to wrangle your campers to clean the cabin or to stay focused during morning reading the lesson or what it is you and your co-counselor often have different skillsets. One might employ more in one setting, and you might employ more than another setting and learning how to work with your co-counselor to figure out the most effective way to address a problem where it’s not you doing everything or your co-counselor doing everything I think is so important.

Same goes for the activity areas. And so teamwork was something else that I thought a lot about. Tying in the idea of Soul and all the different expressions of God. Learning how to use a team and create a great team is all about finding ways of getting all the different kinds of expressions of Soul to work together in harmony.

I think camp does a really great job of showing you how that works in practice, so that when you’re in another setting, you can really see and lead in bringing that together.

And the last one I wanted to mention was the performing under pressure. And again, that ties a little bit into this year. When you’re at camp, whether it’s a rain delay, or a rainstorm that cancels all the activities and changes everything or a camper that is just so stubborn that you need to stay back and give them very particular attention or someone isn’t feeling well or something.

Every single day, there’s something that doesn’t go according to plan. There’s often no one there, if you’re an activity area, it’s not exactly like you can call up your boss and say, Hey, what should I do? You have to deal with it. You have to figure out how to address it and think on your feet.

And this year again with COVID I think everyone’s kind of experienced that. And I think it’s the individuals that were able to think on their feet able to be proactive, not freak out, not get all worked up about what’s going to happen that have really shown this year. And I think about that one, confidence and trust, and the one mind.

One of the things that I think camp gave me more than any other experience was a confidence and trust in God. Something that I’ve held through camp and since camp, is a quote from Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

I remember thinking that as I was going down the trails of camp, that He’s directing my paths and that confidence and trust that I I’ve learned at camp is definitely something that you don’t exactly get at an internship and you may not get in your first few years in a job, but you get real quick at camp.

Robin: I love what you’re saying about working as a team member and working through situations. Do you find that being a team member, being a part of a team, participating as a team member, do you feel confident in that and you feel comfortable in that setting?

So often people don’t feel comfortable as a team member, they feel like, well, I’m not very valuable, I’m not this…

Do you feel like maybe that experience has helped you be a valuable team member in the different roles that you’ve had?

Will: I do. I think what’s been really helpful is there’s always areas that I’ll be stronger in than others, and at camp you’re put in both the scenarios in which you are strong in and you’re put in the scenarios that you’re not strong in.

It helps build a self-awareness too, of the importance of teamwork, bringing others in, and relying and trusting and others as well.

Being a good teammate, is equally an part about about helping others when they need help. But I think it’s it’s also about relying on others and bringing others in to what you’re working on when you feel that there can be others that are, are gonna be helpful for you too. So.

Robin: There’s a terrific book by Michael Eisner called Camp that I wanted to share with you. This was shared with me from our first Net Effect guest, Captain Al Zwick. Al sent me an email. He says, Hey, I don’t know if you remember, but I shared this with you one time, but be sure and share this with everyone.

It’s a great book and it really does bring out some of those wonderful things that we’ve all talked about.

We’ve got to get to a couple of quick things before we get to Q & A, we do have new job postings to the Career Alliance this past week. Just wanted to give you a few of those: Chief Executive of the Principia, Office Manager, Link School postings.

You can find those if you go to ABFCareerAlliance.org, and you can find them through the job seeker portal, it’ll take you right through to the Connections and Jobs board, where those are posted.

We’d be glad to help you connect with those different job opportunities.

You guys have been terrific.

These are questions that have been sent in. We’re going to get right to it.

Here’s the first question. What are your career options if you’ve been accused of a felony, but the trial is not for three to four years?

I told you guys about this, and this is a tough question, but I wanted to pose it to the group and see if, if any of you would like to tackle this one.

Tom: I think one practical step would be checking with an attorney to figure out what you disclose and what you don’t disclose. Not my area of expertise, but I think there’s probably shades of gray when you’re going through the legal process and you’re looking for a job.

Robin: Is there anything that you could draw from where there’s been some instability or uncertainty, weren’t quite sure what to do. How did you approach that as it related to a career challenge or facing some type of adversity?

Will: To clarify, is this when thinking about adversity in figuring out what you want to do for your career, or specifically in a, in a role?

Robin: Can we find something to offer from maybe a scriptural perspective and inspirational piece? How could maybe we help that person?

Will: I’ve always felt that if you’re listening, and you’re working hard, and you’re doing all the right things, that you can’t be punished.

A lot of my classmates were applying to Amazon and Microsoft and a bunch of tech companies and a bunch of engineering companies. And there was a very, very competitive scenario. The belief would be, you need this to have a good career, to get set off on the right foot.

Where I was able to find peace and that peace led me down one path wound around and zigzagged and all sorts of different things was that God is guiding me and that I just have to discover what He wants for me. I’m not gonna force my career to happen, but I’m going to discover it through God’s guidance.

Robin: I, I think that’s a fair answer. And, and kind of along those lines with this new normal that we’re, that we have, and having to Zoom all the time and, and having all this different media in place one of the questions was how can I improve my skills of work when I’m having to do all these different things and I can’t necessarily walk down the hall?

How would you all approach that? What would you suggest to folks that are listening? What are some of the things they can do to improve their skills?

Morgan: I would answer that by saying, I think we all now inherently understand that we can do things, through Zoom, for example, but it takes a little longer. It takes more patience, which are great qualities to develop.

What I would tell someone who was asking that of me is that one of the most important things is to have patience with yourself.

So many times, especially early in your career, you want to draw that straight line from here to there. If you really understand, as Will was saying, that it’s a journey that gets revealed to you and getting frustrated or getting concerned I’m not on my schedule that I set for myself that you have to love yourself.

You have to be patient with yourself and you have to be accepting that I am being guided, and I will be grateful and joyful and how that is revealed to me. And you may think back here that it’s like, I have to develop this skill by this time or else I’m sunk. But so many times in my life when I’ve had those thoughts, now that I can look back to say it happened exactly how I needed it to happen.

I developed that skill. I learned that thing, that opportunity became available. That wasn’t the one I thought, but it was another one. And all I have to do is look in the rear view mirror and say, Every single time, that’s how it’s happened. And so I now trust that.

If I had to give a piece of advice to somebody young saying, Hey, I can’t, because of this, I can’t do this, I’m I’m being held back is just to step back and say, be grateful for that – it’s going to get there because you’re trusting and you’re being led.

Robin: I think that’s a great answer. Kind of the last question, as we close out our hour here how do you propose to grow your business? We have the question, how do I grow my network? When we’re in amongst this kind of work at home, some places are starting to open up. Anybody want to tackle that question?

Ricky: It’s a good time to be on the same page, whether you’re working with a coworker or with a client. It’s a very challenging situation these days. You want to share your goal with your coworker or your client, and that’s going to require an adjustment for you for them.

But if there’s a communication to be like meet in the middle, like problem solving and creative, creative, creative problem, solving creativity, creatively seasoning to kind of get on the same page to make sure a goal is met. So that’s not a specific answer, but just, just making sure you’re communicating with who you’re working with to be on the same page.

And I think ideas will come from that business to grow.

Robin: Anybody else like to add anything?

Shannon: I think, I mean, my job is a little different that I’m still working with people in person when possible, but I mean, something that I’ve just been thinking about for my general sense of life and progress is progress is in fact, a law of God and it’s governing literally all of us, despite all the adversity we’re facing and just cleaning to those truths can really open up new pathways that you didn’t expect or give you those opportunities.

There’s no way you could have planned for humanly and, having that trust that we’ve all been talking about that confidence and good. That’s always helps me.

Robin: On the earlier question, that one that I threw that fast ball at you right out of the gate, Jenny Nilsson suggest Jill Grimes, CS lecture gives an example.

I have a one woman spinning time in prison and her complete freedom from any prison time on her record when she was interviewed for a job. Jill is listed in the Christian Science Journal. So any of you that have that kind of a question, you can certainly seek her out. Sally says, while it may be pro and con Zoom, email, text all create a verifiable history.

So there’s no stopping someone for a quick answer, a quick question, everything is recommended. You all have been fabulous and so terrific and so generous with your time. Does anybody have anything else they’d like to add or say, before we finish up?

Ricky: If I could just add one more, one point to the first question. When I’m in a situation where things seem there’s no good at any turn you go, you just have to kind of lay still, be calm, be still in now. And think about what is the very first thing that you should do just to make your reality a little bit better, even if it’s just by a small degree and then accomplish that.

And then once you have that done, take the next step. So like small steps with the belief and understanding that, knowing that what is true about yourself, the big qualities that you have will soon resonate and be evident for everyone to see. And that may alleviate the situation to better days.

Robin: Anyone else like to add something?

Laura: I think just to echo on that, like it’s this whole time is don’t take for granted those little things that you’re doing, those little touch points where you can network, even if it’s with the person at the grocery store that, those, those little moments, those little steps that push you outside your comfort zone, cause you’re using Zoom or using a different webinar platform.

We shouldn’t take those for granted. Those are pushing us forward. Just like, those bigger challenges are. So that’s my 2 cents.

Robin: One thing I would like to add, what about online jobs and how’s the best way to kind of get that? We had John Gray on a few weeks ago where we talked about those kinds of things in the hidden job market. I recommend you go to the ABFCareerAlliance.org website and go to the Net Effect page that houses all the Net Effects the past and effect episodes, and, and look at John Gray’s episode, because there were some terrific ideas and some real good tips in that episode.

So if you have any questions further than that, be sure and reach out to me, robin@albertbakerfund.org and I’ll be happy to help you.

We welcome you to post your jobs, become a Career Ally, post your internships and externships at ABFCareerAlliance.org. We have some wonderful resources there.

You can connect with each one of our guests that we had today by clicking on the link on the side. We post all our jobs and all our career connections on our social media. Today, I posted all of our guest’s career connections. If you go to ABFCareerAlliance.org, pick Job Seeker, Career Ally, or a Student, you’ll see on the right-hand side, our Twitter feed, where all of these are are posted and all you have to do is just click on the link.

Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We have wonderful inspiration and great great, great stories on there. You’ll be able to see and catch glimpses of all the Net Effect episodes.

I would love to go another two hours with all of you. There’s so much I would love to explore and talk to you about. You’ve just been fabulous. You’ve been terrific. I want to thank each one of you for joining us today and all of you that joined us online live and those that will be listening to the recording.

Be sure and reach out at robin@albertbakerfund.org, I’m happy to answer any questions or help you in any way that I can. For now, this is the Net Effect, signing off!

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