Since 2018 the Mexican Camping Association (AMC) has carried out a “Camp Director Retreat”. This event, exclusively for Owners and Camp Directors of member camps of the AMC, allows the participants to share and discuss current issues facing the camp industry. The directors enjoy some fellowship, learn more about each other’s operations and seek to work as a community to drive continuous improvement and best practices for the camp industry in Mexico.
The first retreat was hosted by Campamento Santa Úrsula, located in the State of San Luis Potosí in 2018 and the second by Campamento La Cañada in the State of Jalisco. In the crisis year of COVID there was some discussion about how to come together and who could host. In November, the need for a safe retreat was determined to be more important than ever and so Campamento Lago y Tierra welcomed the participants into their beautiful camp.
There were 18 Camp Directors, all members of the AMC, who assembled to strengthen and nurture the ties of friendship and collaboration amongst the Mexican Camps. They arrived to Lago y Tierra where they were received by Teddy Goldberg, Ezequiel Corkidi (aka Cheque), Alejandra Roldán and all their wonderful staff hosts.
This year’s event focused on the summer of unprecedented challenges. The challenges included compliance with health protocols at the retreat as the group addressed the changes in the way of running camps while, at the same time, to achieve the key outcomes of camp operation: positive learning and growth in community and in the out of doors.
As usual the retreat includes a thorough site tour to the origins of Lago y Tierra and how the directors and staff laid the foundations of the camp’s success. Over the course of the three days of the retreat, participants had the chance to experience many of the activities that Lago y Tierra commonly offers to their campers. As in any true camp experience, the directors were able to awaken their inner child through this active learning: by exploring the creeks for insects, studying zoology, baking bread, participating in adventure activities, and gathering round the campfire for an evening of songs, skits and talents.
While the icebreakers and recreational activities were important, the work around the table was equally critical. They were all clear about the purpose of the AMC: To work TOGETHER so that camps develop and maintain BEST PRACTICES to offer meaningful and transformative experiences. TOGETHER: Because now more than ever camps must support each other as a community, and BEST PRACTICES: Because the way camps are operated has shifted radically due to COVID-19. There was no doubt in the minds of the participating camp directors that if they can achieve these two mandates, the rest will consolidate itself.
Thanks to digital platforms, the retreat was hybrid to permit virtual sessions with the members who were not able to be physically present. The president of the Mexican Camping Association (AMC), Pablo Casas Alatriste and the retreat participants reached several solid conclusions and agreements that will continue to be developed throughout the year.
Following the end of the retreat, participants have remained COVID-free.