Monday, March 1, 2021

1988 - Clear and Present Leadership

Always present Ron Clear

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)

The picture above is how I think of Ron Clear. So much so, that I stole it off his Facebook page.

When I met him, he was always coming at you with everything he had. There was no doubting his attention was focused.

As the program director for YMCA Camp Bluff Lake (San Bernardino Mountains, California) I had the honor of serving so many at camp. Ron (for whatever reason) decided that I was worth an investment of his time and leadership. He would invite me to tour camp during the program day and in doing so would let me see firsthand his leadership style. 

Ron was clearly a large leadership presence in camp and everyone vied for his attention. The daily routines, water shortages, septic issues, program crises, late night fires, renegade bikers, teens sneaking into the woods, staff raids on riflery or even Thursday night steak and chicken bbq; all the makings of leadership opportunities.

It seemed that even though I spent just one week a summer with Ron and his team, the memories and lessons have lasted a lifetime. What I gained most from his mentorship was that it was not about him at all. Ron is always on message and you are quite aware the he is present to whatever you are saying or doing. He Cealrly (pun?) communicates what is needed to lead.

His ultimate goal was always in serving the youth and their experience. His filter for work is about making the best possible experience and what I suspect is that he used this character of Ron Clear, Director Extraordinaire, as a way to provide that experience.

I was and am in humble awe that Ron Clear allowed me grace of his time over the period of several summers to see what leadership and culture needs to be as a way to empower others to lead as well. While it has been nearly four decades since my first experiences with Ron, I think often of those little moments when we would walk the trails at Bluff Lake and encounter the issues of the day.

Ron would empower the team to take care of what ever came up. To this day, when I have leaders, campers or others who need coaching, I put myself in a Ron Clear mindset to empower my team. Not a, “what would Ron do?” It has been more about the spirit of serving and how I help this person get the job done.

Of my 50 plus years since my family came to the US, I have spent 40 summers at camp in a leadership capacity. I am grateful for so many lessons. Ron was and is a lasting influence that gave me a great model to learn and become a leader. I think back on it all and it keeps me forever young.

This is how I've pictured the Dining Hall roof
(perhaps some lights for night view as well) 

In my mind the shiny aircraft aluminum roof on the dining hall will always be a beacon of Ron’s light and influence in my life and that of thousands.

Post Script - I want to take a moment and invite those who are reading this to consider a comment. Let me know where you are in the world and your thoughts on leadership as well. I also invite you to hit the "FOLLOW" button so you will get the latest story reminder. 

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