picking sheet out of a bowl

We just completed the weekend that us winter-weary Canadians somehow use to signify the start of summer. 

For those who own cottages, it is often the week of getting the dock in the water, the waterlines filled, the septic treated and an overall assessment of what damage winter did to your place.

It is the time when families start to plan their “vacation” weeks or weekends that they want to book. 

It is the time that families start to argue over who gets the “good” weeks or the long weekends. 

It is the time that Mom and Dad roll their eyes and say, “Here we go again!”

It is the time that I get the phone calls asking, “What do we do, it’s happening again?”

The best cases involve properly facilitated family discussions LONG before the Victoria Day weekend.  We gather the stakeholders and share our thoughts in a safe and open environment about how to properly share this beloved family retreat. 

Perhaps there are events like birthdays or anniversaries that certain members want to host at the cottage and thus need a specific date. Or it is tied to plans involving kids going to camp and missing out on their traditional times at the cottage.  It could be a variety of circumstances, but if they are properly discussed and everyone is heard, the results tend to come easier (when facilitated by someone like myself).

Ooooops. You waited too long. What do we do today after some tense discussions? 

We can try and have that stakeholders meeting and get everyone together knowing there is some added incentive due to being in May already. 

You say, “It won’t work, no one is available and some are clamoring for specific dates already?” 

Then its PLAN B TIME!!

This plan works and please consider this plan as my gift to you, the cottage owner, who face these situations every year. It’s time for a draw!

Yes, an old school drawing of names from a hat/bag style of “picking”.  Every week that is available (Mom and Dad get whatever week they want just because) is written down on a piece of paper, folded up and stuffed into a hat.  

But first, there needs to be a separate draw for each stakeholder to determine the order of WHO draws first (this adds to the fairness).

Weeks are then drawn in order and if you want to switch with someone else then that’s between the “kids or the stakeholders” who wish to trade. 

The gift in all of this is simple.  Mom and Dad do NOT have the PRESSURE of choosing one over the other.

It isn’t the prettiest solution but it’s the one that can be implemented on short notice without having everyone in the same room. Someone may not get what they want but in the spirit of fairness, it works. 

Sometimes simple is better. 

If you want to learn more about keeping the “cottage peace“, then let’s have a chat!