Friday, April 17, 2009

We're all camped together

George Kirk is a Ketchum-based real estate agent.


It was with little surprise—but a great deal of continuing dismay—that I read the Friday, March 27, headline in the Mountain Express of "Merger foes form camps."

After all, camping is one of those quality-of-life amenities that contributed to the decisions of most to reside in Blaine County. And, isn't living in Blaine County a lot like summer camp for a bunch of us? You know, where we leave the real world for a while and head off to a place where we can ignore the realities of day-to-day living, and spend our days recreating, socializing, eating and just having a good time?

Some of us have chosen to go to Camp Ketchum, some to Camp Sun Valley. Oh wait, maybe that was Camp Save the Airport; or was it Camp Move the Airport, aka Camp Hailey? But, alas, they were in conflict with Camp Environmentalist, or was that Camp Agriculture? No, no, that's it, it was Camp Wetlands.

And, just like at summer camp, every once in a while the camps come together for a little good, old-fashioned competition. See who can win. See who's got the better camp. You know, Camp Nimby has sure beat the crap out of Camp Affordable Housing these past years. But Camp Affordable Housing is bringing out their secret weapons this year (surely you've heard of them): Miss Tumbling Housing Market, Master Unemployment, and those rotten Recession/Depression twins. Camp Nimby won't know what hit them—even Nimby neighborhoods may now be affordable.

In fact, we're such a great place around here that we've got more camps than most regions would ever dream of hosting. In choosing a camp, there aren't just the obvious choices like Camps Blue or Red, Camps Change or Leave it Alone, or Camps North Valley and South Valley. There are also the offshoot specialty camps, like Camps Motorized Vehicle Access or Wilderness, Camps Four-Lane Highway or Public Transportation, and (my personal favorites) Camp Water Conservation and Camp Status Quo Irrigation Practices (recharge being what it is, you know).

Of course, picking a camp all depends upon the desires and lifestyle being sought by the individual. But, with so many to choose from and particularly given the specialty nature of many of the camps, Blaine County can accommodate even the most discerning, picky and narrow-minded of campers. Never mind attending that old-fashioned, stodgy camp that offers team-building, promotes cooperation, teaches the art of compromise and the skills of listening and critical thinking (those dinosaurs—oh, sorry, that is Camp Rainbow Gold). No, no, we all know that this is the era of specialization, doing a few things great rather than lots of things well. Our camp directors have ensured that each camp is tailored for every individual desire and camp directors are sure to cater to each camper's special interest. The Forest of Objectivity has been lost for the Trees of Rhetoric. Certainly, no alternative camp could conceivably offer any improved component of camp life that our camp would even consider incorporating.

The best news is, though, that we've all (oh, sorry, most of us have) been able to keep living in our camps on a permanent basis. God forbid we'll ever have to rejoin the real world and get along with anyone else but our cabin mates. Actually resolving issues, and implementing solutions, would be far too adult an activity to be undertaken at camp. Maybe it is time the adults come and take all of us spoiled children home.

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