We’re both excited and humbled to share that CampMinder has been named #58 on Outside Magazine’s 2017 list of the 100 Best Places to Work in America. Each year, Outside Magazine recognizes the top 100 companies in the nation that go above and beyond to help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. The winning companies are those that value productivity in combination with an active, eco-conscious lifestyle, for a fulfilling experience inside and outside the office.
Companies from across the country entered this year’s contest. Each company was evaluated on workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. This evaluation was complemented by an employee survey to measure team members’ experience.
Our founder, Dan Konigsberg, has watched CampMinder grow over the past 16 years from a one-person operation to a thriving 50-person organization. We asked him to share what this award means to him personally, and here’s his story.
Letter from CampMinder’s Founder & CEO, Dan Konigsberg
I’ll never forget the day I founded CampMinder, sitting at a desk in my parents’ apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City. I was a 21-year-old kid with an idea, boundless energy, and a deeply rooted desire to build something. Back then, the thing I wanted to build was a tool to help the people at my camp do their work more easily so that they could better enjoy their lives and spend more time working with campers and staff. If the passion center of my heart were an archery target, this concept was the bullseye. I hope you can forgive that horrible metaphor around a camp activity I was never even into.
Anyway, that was over sixteen years ago. Today, I’m a 37-year-old kid living in Boulder, Colorado with children of my own, slightly less energy, but still just as passionate about building something. But somewhere along that road, the “thing” I was most passionate about building changed. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll always care intensely about our product… but I realized something critical and foundational that changed my perspective.
So much of my focus and attention had been on making our clients happy, but it occurred to me that it is just as important to help our employees feel fulfilled in their work. After all, they’re the ones who create the product and deliver the service. From my own experience, I knew that I gave my work 100% because it gave me meaning and challenged me to learn and grow. So through that lens, my passion shifted from building a great product to creating a great company by intentionally cultivating a meaningful experience for others.
The thing is, there’s no logical reason a bootstrapped company focused on building technology for a non-technological industry should be as successful as CampMinder has been. Any reasonable investor would have thrown my business plan (if I’d had one) in the trash. But here we are, profitable and still rocking and rolling after all these years. In fact, we’ve never been better positioned for growth than we are at this very moment. Why? Because we are purposeful, and we are true to our values.
Each and every of one of the fifty people on our team believes in and cares about why we do what we’re doing – and, just as importantly, how we go about doing it. We find meaning in elevating people through unforgettable experiences, and we do it by measuring our performance as alignment with our values: Put Team First, Find a Better Way, Be Admirable, Own It, Give Joy, and Wonder. We will not sacrifice our values to achieve business results. It’s not worth it.
Our number one company goal is employee engagement. Our philosophy is simple: if we can create an environment that gives people the same kind of fulfillment I experienced when I founded the company, then they will experience the same passion, intensity, and love in their work that I did when I was just getting started. We don’t want our team to view work just as a means to get a paycheck. Instead, we want people to feel inspired, knowing they are doing something that makes a difference. What makes me feel that way these days is trying to carve out a tiny sliver of the universe where people actually love their jobs.
Which brings me to the point of this letter. Being recognized by Outside Magazine as one of the 100 Best Places to Work in America is the most meaningful work-related experience I’ve had so far. While the recognition is nice, what’s so significant about it is that it helps me know we’re on the right path towards creating a deeply engaging work environment.
On behalf of everyone at CampMinder, I want to thank all of you in the camp industry who help shape children into thoughtful adults. Your efforts inspire us to help camps succeed because we envision a future led by those adults, featuring the values they learned at camp. Camp cultivates and celebrates our best human qualities, and knowing the role we play in making it happen is what makes CampMinder a special place to work.
Founder & CEO, CampMinder
Since 2001, CampMinder has been creating web-based camp management software solutions that help summer camp operators achieve their goals. Over that time, we’ve bootstrapped our way to working with over 800 of the industry’s leading camps — throughout the United States and beyond — using a blend of heart, wisdom, and innovation to help them succeed. We’re proud to employ 50 amazing people in the areas of Engineering, Product, Client Services, Sales, Marketing, and Operations, the majority of whom work in CampMinder’s Boulder, CO-based office.
While CampMinder has always cared about its employees, our team’s engagement level has emerged as a clear priority over the last several years, as we’ve experienced the fulfillment that results from surrounding ourselves with great people who care deeply about our purpose.
The complete list of Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in America appears online at www.outsideonline.com.