While school often divides, Lenox unites.
Schools provide essential socialization for children but may inadvertently isolate them as well; either as select members of an “in-group” or as outsiders. Administrators and parents witness the consequences – bullying and loneliness – but feel helpless to address this growing problem.
There is a solution. It’s called Camp Lenox!
Enthusiastically welcomed to camp by staff and veteran campers, even the most shy newcomer rapidly finds a circle of friends in the camp community. During a summer of fun and recreation, Rich and Stephanie intentionally surround children with a tight-knit community of friends “they haven’t met.” The results can only be called life-changing.
One summer, a bright, sensitive, well-rounded, nine-year-old boy, named Ben, left home for camp for the very first time. Staff were surprised to find Ben struggling with homesickness after the first week of camp. Though the campers and staff were friendly, Ben couldn’t shake the gnawing feelings of sadness when he thought of home. Director Rich Moss took one look at Ben’s teary eyes and sensed that he needed a “parent friend.” He invited Ben to his office after lunch where they talked about home, sports, and hobbies, while Rich taught him a special game called Moroccan checkers.
One meeting turned into another, and Ben soon became an “after lunch” regular. Conversations moved from homesick talk to his desire to master Rich’s challenging game. After two weeks went by, Ben settled into camp and the meetings grew less frequent. Ben successfully developed the “coping muscles” he needed and ended his first summer with his head held high. He was one of the first campers to register for the next season.
Several years ago, a group of adolescent girls, who had been together for a few summers, were getting ready to move up to the next division. Within the group, multiple small cliques had developed. The girls weren’t intentionally mean or exclusive – they were good kids who had simply settled into a “comfort zone” and grown reluctant to reach out and make new friends.
Director Stephanie Moss realized this during the off-season. For the benefit of all, she creatively reshuffled the bunks for the upcoming summer, placing each girl with a few old friends and some “new faces.” When parents got wind of this, there arose a ground swell of concern and resistance. They lobbied en-masse to have the original bunk assignments preserved. Stephanie held firm, and by the end of the summer the “move” proved to be tremendously successful in ways the girls never imagined. One mother wrote to her:
“At the end of camp, Haley climbed into the car and declared that the past summer was the best experience of her life. Your decision to break up their group was a good one – no drama this year. I know you got a lot of flak on the split, but I believe the parents MUST now realize the benefits.”