Another Person of Interest

The Red Squad at Camp Shasta comprised teenage boys and girls. While they received no pay, they attended and enjoyed all the activities at Camp at no cost. Members of the Red Squad worked as assistants with the specialists and did the labor projects at Camp. Some of them were very mature and undertook their given tasks with total responsibility as full-grown adults. The story that follows is about one of them.

Every member of Red Squad was given the right to participate in all of Camp’s staff meetings, which usually took place in the evening after our nightly campfire. Most always came. Perhaps they were enticed by the food the kitchen would prepare. Even an Army moves on its stomach. Camp staff and Red Squad certainly did!

The Red Squad member I write about was his own person with his own voice. He did not relate well with his peers but always did an exceptional job when given a task, even if it was difficult. He was strong, capable, and even creative when doing a job. Still, as I mentioned, he was highly independent and seemed uninterested in interacting with the Red Squad as a social entity.  

A few years later, as an adult, he became an entrepreneur, married, and had his first child. I was invited to attend one of his staff meetings, where I listened and watched his approach and way of relating to his staff. He spoke passionately about his vision while they listened intently, seemingly mesmerized. I remember he never once asked for anyone’s thoughts or input. He was the leader, and he knew what he wanted. Ultimately, his inability to see beyond himself shattered whatever dreams he may have had.

Much later, when I began to study power, communication, and relationships, I believe he was, at least to his mind, his staff, and probably a few others, “charismatic.” Yet, that was a bubble of his own making and one he could never escape.


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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