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7 things that make Sun Valley better than a normal summer camp

Sun Valley

As most of you know, I am sure, we are now in the midst of Mogulmania Week at the Herb Allen conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. At that pristine and august location, business honchos meet, break bread, and attempt to keep their gasbags aloft in rooms drained of available oxygen by the collective weight of all that ego.

Me, I'm jealous of the guys who get to go. For many years, my parents sent me to summer camp and, I'll be honest with you, for the most part it was pretty much a nightmare. If you have to go to a camp -- and it's apparent that for big cheeses this is pretty much a mandatory exercise -- Sun Valley is way better than the camps I was forced to attend.

In what way?

  1. I had to travel by bus with a bunch of screaming kids who wanted to punch me in the glasses. The assembled moguls mostly travel to Sun Valley in their own private planes, and are delivered to a tidy little landing strip from whence they are whisked away to their destination in privacy and comfort.
  2. I had to stay in a bunk with a couple of sinks we all had to share and a very public bathroom. One bulb, hanging on a fixture above our heads, provided all illumination. At night, we had to use flashlights to read our comics under the covers. At Sun Valley, moguls have their own private Idahos in more ways than one.
  3. Cabins, of course, were one-sex only, twelve or so boys or girls per bunk. Moguls are permitted to bring their spouses and enjoy full connubial privileges. We had to go out onto the ball field for that.
  4. We were forced to hike up hill and dale and engage in a wide number of rustic activities. On one canoe trip, my face was completely eaten by tiny gnats and I nearly got trichinosis from undercooked pork chops. Moguls at the Allen summer camp do engage in light rusticity, but nothing that would smear their Guccis, and the only one likely to eat your face is very often smiling into it.
  5. Speaking of food, the stuff provided at my summer camp was pretty bad. I'm betting the moguls can do better than meatloaf and canned corn.
  6. Once you got to my camp, there was no way to communicate with people back home and nobody knew what you were doing for weeks at a time unless you wrote postcards or letters at rest hour. At Sun Valley, there are more journalists around than there are ants on a chocolate-covered stick. Five minutes after Bob has a little chat with Betty about the upside implications of subprime, the sighting is reported on a host of online vehicles, generating the kind of speculation infinitely preferable to actual news for many media outlets.  
  7. I was very homesick a lot of the time. Not so with our camping moguls. They can yell at people six, seven, eight times a day on BlackBerry and cell phones, then disappear into the gigantic thought bubble that hovers over the place for as long as they like. The best of both worlds!

Finally, after all was said and done I made friends at summer camp that I missed very much when I went back to my real world.

I don't think moguls really have that problem.

6 Comments Add Comment

Sounds to me like the "FREE LUNCH SYNDROME"; increasingly becoming more verboten.

All the perks that go with the "free lunch" are intended to get the recipient baited to the point of "GOTCHA" by the corporate sponsors to erase "NO" from corporate dialogue.

The "free lunch" can be as addictive as "crack cocaine". Once you've been had, you're transformed to a "CORPORATE COOLIE".

"SUZE ORMAN" is my background dialogue while submitting this "BLOG".

1. Travelling to camp was usually done at government expense with orders and a duffle bag. Sometimes we flew with weapons but rarely.

2. We slept in tents with little trenches around them so that if the rain came down, most of it would be diverted around your sleeping bag on the ground, only to roll into the guy's tent that was below yours. We tried to exercise light discipline at night because unnessary light tended to attraction the attention of the unwanted locals.

3. Barracks were unisex, although that didn't always stop the fraternization. As a general rule, this was rare though. But several weeks without sighting any new females will give you a new-found appreciate for the babes that have been assigned to your unit.

4. We too were forced to hike up hill and dale and engage in a wide number of felonious activities. But then our unit's unofficial motto was "Rape, maim, kill and plunder." Bugs were involved but they were more an annoyance.

5. Nutrition can be summed up as two elements: MRE's and cat holes. Be prepared for the high-carb, high-protein diet of an MRE (although stay away from the pork patties). These will plug you up quickly. When you go take care of business, don't forget to bring a buddy to keep watch. And, for gawd's sake, keep as much of the TP as possible from your MRE packet.

6. Once you got to camp there were limited ways to communicate with family back home, but most involved either writing letters or bribing someone at battalion. I never had to deal with "imbedded" reporters though. (Camping in the 1980's was so much more civilized.)

7. I was homesick much of the time too, except when we would get to go out and exercise the weapons and do attack/defense drills or harass the local populace.

8. I can only imagine what it's like for our poor boys in Iraq and Afghanistan. My main advice: find some real fruits and vegetables to supplement your MRE's otherwise your in for a lifetime of hemmorhoids. And make some friends! The locals don't like it when you only come to shoot at'em but don't spend any money. A few bucks spent on the local economy goes a lot farther than kicking in somebody's door.

I went to summer camp once back in High School. It was way worse than your story. I was raised in Southeast Alaska (Ketchikan). I had to go to this church camp that was on a neighboring island and you could only reach it by float plane. This place was about 4 buildings big and looked like one of those cult compounds that Dateline would have a blast busting.
My friend got sick and had to leave early. Guess who came up with a BS line so that she could leave early too? Something about being her best friend, blah, blah, blah!
Yes, 16 years later I still enjoy making my mother feel extremely guilty in making me attend this cult like summer camp.
Oh yeah, you were not allowed to use the bathroom (seperate building) at night due to black bears wondering around the compound and instead they provided a bucket and a small closet.

I haven't been reading for the past month or so because I got laid off and without work, I don't need to kill time at work.

But, what a delight to open my beloved Slate and see your byline. Thanks, it made my otherwise pathetic day.

Hey Reese,

Your not alone! You are in company.

Herb, when you are ready and serious about investing in renewable Energy that exterminates oil and gas completely write your interest in same here . you will get a reply , politic has made a whore of the issue , and the media ignores the truth of the matter , take the time to listen , I am sure youll have an intense interest .

Mr C

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