“SERENDIPITY” A Life Out of My Control—Part 4

It didn’t take long to get to Redding and the lumber company office. I went to the front desk, announced my name, and was told the boss will see me. Obviously, they expected someone to visit. I was that someone.

He sat behind a big desk and, without any hesitation, said, “You don’t belong in this country. We’ll buy your property for more than you paid for it.” No greeting, no introductions, just his declaration that “I don’t belong.” With this, he reached into his desk, pulled a .45, and laid it on the desk. Again he said, “You really do not belong up here. Much better off staying in LA.”

I stood up, leaned over the desk, placed my face about 6″ from his, said GO F— YOURSELF,” and walked out of the office.

I drove back to our property, put a chain around the gate post, pulled the gate out of the ground, and broke off the lock. I dragged the gate to our property line, dug two holes, and installed our new gate. For all I know, it’s still there.

More “Serendipity”: A major lumber company owned the land that abutted our south property line. The spring and the road touched our property, but they were on their property. Close to us, but theirs. I contacted them to do some “horse trading,” and they were wide open to the idea.

Then two miracles occurred: I proposed to trade 10 acres of virgin forest on our Northwest Corner, far from what was to become camp, to the big lumber company. They agreed, and in return for the 10 acres, they gave us 15 acres, including the spring and road! And, oh yes—They also purchased the other lumber company in Redding that told me “I didn’t belong” and wanted our land. Case closed and all in our favor. Serendipity? Of course!

So, Camp Shasta came to be and opened in the summer of 1960. The staff and campers built the cabins for five double bunks. Each group was free to do anything they wanted with their summer homes. And, of course, they did.



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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