Leadership Lessons from Summer Camping

This is my contribution to #leadershipday12. I want to start by thanking Scott McLeod for spearheading this initiative…I am looking forward to reading all of the posts.

I am just getting back to school today after an extremely fun and relaxing summer vacation. As we do every summer, we packed up the family tent trailer so that we could camp in our favorite spot in Northern Idaho. This is an incredible time to relax, rejuvenate and recharge the battery. During this time, I was disconnected from technology and social media and this gave me an opportunity to reflect on my career as an educational leader. I started to think that many lessons of camping could be applied to school leadership.

1. You don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to have a fantastic experience – there are a few essential tools that you need when you are camping: axe, lighter, shelter, food, etc. I equate this to my belief that in order to learn in the 21st century, one does not need a bunch of fancy tools.  Like camping, you need the tools that work for you and that you feel comfortable using. This year, I bought a new hatchet to replace my old axe and it was a welcome addition. Similarly, there are new technology tools that I use at school that help me to be more efficient.

2. When you see someone in the campground, say “hello”- It’s very simple and goes a long way in making a connection with someone. Similarly, if you are walking the halls in your school or doing supervision…say hello to students and staff…make a connection…learn their names…it certainly goes a long way!

3. Everyone helps out – When we set up our trailer, everyone in the family has a job and it goes very smoothly. This makes everyone feel valued that they are contributing to the team. At school, every staff member should be encouraged to help out in some capacity…not just teaching their classes. As school leaders, we need to model this “servant leadership” and help out wherever we can.

4. Kids learn by experiencing – this thought came to me when i was showing my kids how to start a fire. As educators, we must remember that kids don’t learn by watching someone else do something…they learn by DOING!

5. The most important lesson…Leave the campsite better than you found it! Pay it forward…don’t just leave things the way they were…make them better! At school, what are some things that you could do to make things better for someone else?

I started this post at 8:00 this morning and I am ready to post it at noon. Interruptions are inevitable…but if you can take a few minutes to make someone else’s life easier, it is time well spent. I used to get frustrated that I get interupted so much but now I take it as a compliment that staff and students feel comfortable enough to approach me if their concerns and questions.

Please feel free to post a comment or add to my leadership lessons (above).

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About Derek Hatch (Hatcherelli)
Principal in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

One Response to Leadership Lessons from Summer Camping

  1. Pingback: Leadership Lessons from Summer Camping « Hatcherelli Blog | iSuperintendent | Scoop.it

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