Monday, March 30, 2009

Worlds Unknown

As part of my work with Freshi Films, we went to the Tri-State Camp Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey - a trade show that caters to the summer camp industry.  Summer camps are a huge business back east, out here in Los Angeles, is largely unknown, aside from some scattered specialty camps and camps for the less fortunate.  

The conference included an exhibit hall filled with all matter of services for summer camps, from insurance to inflatable slides, to food service, to t-shirts, to sports, to medical services and supplies, and even portable docks for your lakeside camp.  Companies have developed and succeeded for decades aimed at one primary, and very regional industry. 

I couldn't help but think of how many trade shows are held around the country and the world that service businesses and industries that are largely unknown, unless you have a direct interest.  We hear about some in the news occasionally - electronics, toys, books, guns - but so many remain unreported outside of industry publications.  How many conferences are held each year that the "outside" world ignores, but hold a critical role in a particular industry?  

At the conference, I met the owner of the day camp that I attended as a little boy - and that his father had founded fifty years before.  From my western perspective, it seems almost inconceivable that a summer camp could be a viable business, but, like so much else, our culture is entirely removed from the summer camp tradition.  Or, perhaps, we're just one big never-ending summer camp!

The Sky is Falling

The Bubble is Bursting.
The chickens are coming home to roost.
What goes up must come down.

When another door closes, another opens.

Crisis = Opportunity (this is usually attributed to the Chinese, but I found this interesting analysis from "The Straight Dope" - it seems that this may be an incorrect Western interpretation.  It's still a good attitude though, especially now...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


To adults, kids lives sometimes seem simplistic, but our own memories prove otherwise.  The very fact that I'm able to interact with childhood friends with whom I haven't had any meaningful contact since we were eleven years old indicates a level of sophistication we sometimes forget. 

Our lives are narrower in scope at that age, but still dominated by playground politics and social maneuvering.  We can spot weaknesses and strengths, and experience a whole range of passions.

I still think of a certain childhood friend as a comrade - one of my first friends outside of my immediate neighborhood - the first friendship based wholly on shared interests and an attitude about the world around us. When I saw him again over thirty years later, we not only shared memories, but I found that I recognized his personality.  I knew his degree of sensitivity, and the sense of humor that likely formed our early friendship.

As I reconnect with other early childhood friends on Facebook - and I've now reconnected with most of them - I recall that kid that I once was - and now realize that I'm fundamentally still that same kid.