This time of the year is simply our busiest in the office. We have SO much going on. We are beginning our fall season at our camps, getting ready for the 37th annual Ontario Student Leadership Conference (OSLC), my 25th year of speaking has begun and of course 2016 YLCC Summer Camp is filling up!
Now you might think 2016 summer camp is filling up? It’s only September 2015! You are right, but it’s true. We are filling up programs left, right and centre! It’s actually super exciting to be in the office today and hearing the phones ring off the hook and 4 staff just trying to keep up with the registrations and inquiries.
It wasn’t always this way! In fact it was very different. 20 years ago I remember sitting in our offices with some volunteers calling schools, teachers, parents and friends! Just trying to recruit campers for YLCC! Making all sorts of promises of extra archery time or a free t-shirt. It was hard. I even remember the first time we expanded to 6 weeks from 4. That first week had less than 20 campers show up. We had double the staff than campers. I can remember sitting with some senior staff members as they try to “reason” with me, “Stu, we gotta cancel the extra weeks, we will never fill them up!”
I never once backed down from my belief that it would work. I knew we had an amazing program and we just needed to create demand for it! Once we got a camper they were usually hooked. The parents saw the benefit of the leadership curriculum, how their children grew and were more aware. The ball started rolling, we just kept growing.
Last year YLCC had close to 1,700 campers over 9 weeks. A massive difference from the 300 we had 13 years ago. By tomorrow night we will be almost 70% full for next summer. We are 9 months away from our summer staff training (pre-camp). It’s exciting to see!
People often ask about our success, how it happened! I always like to respond with this statement, “It only took me 23 years to become an overnight success!”
This applies to not just entrepreneurship. It applies to your school, family, health, sports, whatever. Jordan and Gretzky were uber talented but they worked harder than almost anyone in their sport. Relentless in their practice and learning from their failures.
Many entrepreneurs, students, athletes, young and old, seem to be looking for the quick fix. The money maker. The easy path. In fact there aren’t that many real “overnight” successes. Richard Branson didn’t become the billionaire that he is today quickly. The Virgin brand took more than 30 years to build. He had many failures!
If you believe in your dream, your idea, your passion. Stick with it! Never give up. You may have to adjust, refine and change the direction of your plan but stick with it. There’s a reason why not everyone is a success. It takes hard work and an ability to see far into the future. So keep going, you can be STUpendous!