This morning, I was looking out my office window and watching Don Matthews, a veteran counselor of forty-one years, teaching one of our youngest campers how to water ski at Camp Takajo. Witnessing his patience and enthusiasm, had I not know better, I would have thought he was teaching skiing for the first time.
At this time, I was reminded of something that I said to the staff during pre-season. I told them that in business, and in life, what separates one person from the rest of the pack is not doing what is expected; but, rather, going above and beyond and doing the unexpected. I gave my staff the example of walking into a restaurant for the very first time. We all expect clean utensils, friendly service, and a delicious meal. What we do not expect is for the owner of the restaurant to come over, introduce himself, and offer us a piece of complimentary apple pie that just came out of the oven. That unexpected gesture has a minimal expense for the owner, but yet, it has a huge impact on the customer.
Don Matthews has taken pictures of first time water skiers as they get up on skies for over forty years and has been mailing these pictures home with hand-written notes to the parents of every child. This gives these parents a first hand opportunity to witness their child’s accomplishment.
It is expected that a child will have the opportunity to learn how to water ski when he goes to camp. However, what is unexpected is that parents have the ability to actually witness this great accomplishment. At Takajo, I take great pride in my staff, and I witness many of these unexpected moments every day of the summer. Whether it is a cook preparing a special meal for a child who does not like what is on the menu, a nurse sitting up with a boy and comforting him when he is under the weather, or a tennis counselor spending countless hours helping a child perfect his serve, our staff takes great pride in caring for your children.