Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Your RV trip needs a CHO – a Chief Happiness Officer

I could not believe what I was reading. A popular business publication had an article about the vital role the CHO holds within a company. I’d never heard of a CHO. I’m familiar with CFO and CEO, but CHO? (Don’t you just love acronyms?!) Turns out a CHO is the Chief Happiness Officer. I’m not kidding! One big push in business today is to keep employees happy. A happy employee will not look for work elsewhere. They will work hard and be loyal to the company. Because they’re happy. Or at least that’s the assumption. It got me thinking: Do RV trips need a CHO, too?

Chief Happiness Officer at Campgrounds

Maybe the CHO idea isn’t all that new. Especially for campgrounds. I’m almost sure that a Chief Happiness Officer (or someone similar) is the force behind campground movie nights, latte coffee bars, karaoke contests, zip lines, pizza parties, waterpark-type swimming pools, climbing walls, pony rides, jump pillows, yoga classes, and so much more!

Many campgrounds have expanded to include special amenities because campers have come to expect them. The campgrounds are in business to make money. CHO or not, they will continue to cater to what RVers demand. I understand. It just makes good business sense.

Can nature compete?

With a Chief Happiness Officer in charge of many campgrounds, Mother Nature struggles to compete. Is there a kid today who would choose a canyon hike over a waterpark? Hmmm. I find myself hoping so. But I kind of doubt it.

Could it be that sometimes we (parents and grandparents) have played the CHO role to the detriment of our children? I know that in the past, out of love for my little ones, I searched for activities, opportunities, and “things” to make them happy. I could justify my actions and the expense with words like: “But we’re on vacation!”

The best of times

Looking back, many of our very best times together as a family didn’t include scheduled activities or specially purchased “things.” My most treasured memories include whispering in the twilight, waiting for stars to appear. Or conquering the ever-upward climb to view vast canyons below. Or laughing at one another’s sticky s’mores-smudged fingers and faces.

My point

I guess what I’m saying is that rather than bemoan the CHO attitude of many campgrounds, I can do something positive. This summer we’ll have our grandchildren with us part of the time. We’ll stay at a local RV park. It’s pretty basic. No pony rides, but there’s a great creek. No latte bar, but we might make our own ice cream. (Check out this “old-fashioned” ice cream maker—how fun!)

Will the kids get bored? I hope so! A bored child is generally the one who invents the silliest campfire songs, finds the coolest fossil, or pulls the funniest prank! This just might be the best summer ever!

How do you help your kids/grandkids connect with nature, enjoy the outdoors, and learn about themselves and others as you camp together? Share your ideas, please!

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