It’s June and that means I start my annual trek crisscrossing the United States for our long-time client AMSkier Insurance. AMSkier insures children’s camps (in fact, they are the largest direct insurer of camps in the country). Company president Henry Skier came up with a novel idea a couple decades ago – offer a 24-hour crisis management services to the camps they insure. And that’s where I come in, handling crises when they arise at camps in the summer months. But that’s not why I travel in June.
Several years ago, Henry asked me to fill in and do some of the staff safety training during orientation. Hmm… other than war stories from the crises I’ve managed, what did I know about training staff? Not much. But with the lure of trips to places like Malibu and Carmel Valley, and training by my colleague and friend Norm Friedman, I reluctantly agreed. I found myself in front of hundreds of counselors discussing sexual abuse and other tough topics. Frankly, I was terrified. But I was well received and reluctantly agreed to do a few other camps the next year.
Then something happened. As I discussed how to handle disclosures of abuse to a group of counselors in Chattanooga, a young woman stood up and told her fellow counselors that this very advice I had given the year before had helped her help a little girl who had been abused at home. That was the epiphany. Sure, this was not my specialty and certainly not my comfort zone. But these workshops were helping keep kids safe.
So now I’m 30,000 feet in the air en route to Texas, followed by California, Palm Desert, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and more. I’m still not in my comfort zone, still terrified and still hate flying. But each year I agree. I just can’t get that image from Chattanooga out of my mind.