Ok, I have been either a volunteer or a paid worker in campgrounds for going on 10 years. I love what I do, and will continue to do it for as long as I am able to do it. There are so many rewards of doing this work, that I know I shouldn’t complain. I COULD still be working the 9 to 5 in a stuffy office somewhere and being bored to tears. But….
The thing that really gets to me is when adults who are in charge of a bunch of children break the rules, and when you, as a volunteer or employee, have to say something to them, they almost always say something about it being “for the kids.” The reason this really bothers me is that these upstanding citizens, who give their time to help shape the upcoming generation, think it is ok to break a rule because to obey it would not allow them to do whatever it is they are doing “for the children.” To me, that is inadverdently teaching those children that it is ok to break a rule or a law if you do not agree with it. To me, that has far reaching implications that affect the way those children think and act as they become adults.
The thing that started me feeling like this today was that when I was out doing my rounds in the campgrounds, there was a group of about four men who were hiding Easter Eggs in the primitive campground. Now, there was only one campsite occupied over there, a site across the road from where they were hiding the eggs. The people who were camping on that site had gone off somewhere, so they were not on the site, just their tent and “stuff.” And there probably wouldn’t be any other campers coming in to that area today, seeing as it is Easter Sunday.
But, because the rules of the park indicate that people who are there for “day use” are not to be in the campground, I had to say something to them–it’s part of my job as a volunteer here. So, I asked “Are you camping with us today?” and the guy in charge said, “No, but we have a lot of children with us and we thought this would be a good place for the egg hunt.” I told them about the rule, and said they really weren’t supposed to be there, but because they had already hidden most of the eggs I would let them “this time” but they needed to pass the word to others that is it not ok to do this. Then he said, “well, I tried to call the forest service office yesterday to ask if it was ok, but no one answered the phone”, which sounded to me like he was making it the fault of the forest service that he broke the rule.
So, here is the question is, Is it ok to break a rule because you do not agree with it? And the multiple choice answers are:
1. Karen, you are a hard headed stickler who is just out to spoil Easter for this family.
2. It is ok to break that rule because no one was camping over there, so what difference does it make?
3. Those people meant well, but they are teaching their children that it is ok to break a rule because they don’t like it.
4. If I was camping over there I would be a little ticked off if I came back and there were 20 kids hunting Easter Eggs all over my campsite. And who is going to pick up all their trash?