I’ve heard the same question a few times lately: “Craig, what’s with the roadshow?” the question is prompted by a string of images on social media like the one to the right. With all this snow on the ground, it’s sometimes hard to imagine what a full-time camp director does this time of year, but you might be surprised to learn that this is a very busy time of year for me. No, its not changeover-day 18-hours and 9 cups of coffee busy, but I’ve got important work to do in telling families and campers about Moose River Outpost.
Some businesses might call this marketing. In fact since this is a blog after all, some people might even call this marketing. If I’ve learned anything about spreading the word about camp though, it’s that marketing doesn’t really exit. And I’m very ok with that.
Maybe marketing was something that people could do 15 years ago when phone books were still a thing and smart businesses still called themselves “AAA Widgets Incorporated.” But nowadays, powerful search engines like Google have changed everything. Institutions are either so important that we seek them out, or they’re not. We as consumers can so easily say, “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
This is as true for MRO as it is for any other organization. People don’t come to MRO because of our shiny new brochures, or even the very cool display board pictured above. Most of them don’t even come because of a Google search.
They come because God is doing something big and important in the lives of kids at camp.
The trick is, there’s no Holy Spirit badge we can put on our web listing to indicate he’s working in our hearts here at camp. There’s no automatic iPhone reminder for parents that their kids could use a camp experience. There’s only people: a network of alumni, a group of kids, and their collective stories.
That’s why I’m on the road. I have to tell the story of camp and what it can do for kids. No website can do that for me. I’m writing this, though, because I’m just one person. Let’s face it, I can’t do all the talking. The most important stories aren’t mine, but yours. The story of how you learned to roll a kayak for the first time. The story of how your son or daughter asked to go to youth group at church after spending time at camp. The story of the way you or someone you love became a better person for having been around Godly role models at camp. These stories are not marketing. They’re the body of Christ at work.
For that reason, I’m asking for you to tell your stories. Please tell someone about camp. Not because Moose River Outpost needs them, but because they very well may need us.