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Camp Philosophy

What is Lanakila’s Vision for its Campers and Staff in the Summer of 2010?

By The Aloha Team

A sky filled with stars over the Lanakila castle.
Lanakila Vermont Boys Camp Builds Authentic Relationships
Friendships forged during Vermont summers at Lanakila are grounded in authenticity and fun.
Each summer, senior staff at Vermont’s Camp Lanakila, present a Vision Piece that sets the tone for the forthcoming seven weeks of camp.  Long before opening day, Director Barnes Boffey charges his “Brain Trust” with creating the vision for the summer to come.  For the summer of 2010, Barnes’ staff read The Speed of Trust, and the following Vision Piece was the result of careful and thoughtful distillation of Covey’s message for a camp setting.

For generations, the core mission of Lanakila has been “to help create fine people.”  We know that the camp’s ability to play a transformational role in the lives of children relies on building trusting relationships with both our campers and their parents. In an age of institutions that shirk responsibility, we seek accountability for the congruence of our actions and our aspirations.  Though we know and desire that each Lanakila experience will be different, there are certain things that parents and campers can trust us to do and certain ways that they can trust us to be.

Parents can trust us to:

Provide an environment that serves as a haven from our split-screen culture and helps campers find and appreciate their place in the natural world.  We surround ourselves with the inescapable beauty of lakes, mountains, meadows, and streams, and we teach boys to stop and notice the sights and sounds around them.  Parents can trust us to give their sons tools and experiences that will help them gain comfort and competence in the wilderness—not just as observers but as participants.

Foster relationships grounded in authenticity, compassion, understanding, and fun.  We know that developing the skills to build and maintain close, vulnerable relationships requires an attentive network of support; parents can trust us to help their sons communicate effectively, resolve conflict, and nurture friendships in ways that strengthen their values and celebrate their wit and whimsy.

Create a program focused on building skills and building character while challenging the paradigm that a wall exists between learning and enjoyment.  Parents can trust us to teach knowledgeably and passionately, focused on helping their sons gain skills, knowledge, and confidence, as well as an awareness of the value of practice, perseverance, patience, and good humor.

Develop and nurture a community that through our words and our actions rejects the culture of cynicism, materialism, and excess that pervades modern life, and that celebrates those timeless human values that enrich the spirit and the world: creativity, courage, faith, and love.

Campers can trust us to:

Provide an environment that allows them to discover, recognize, and celebrate the staggering beauty of nature.  Campers can trust us to give them the encouragement and guidance to explore the natural world safely and knowledgeably.  We hope that campers will begin to get a sense of the power, beauty, and solitude of the wilderness, and that, as they do, they will develop an understanding of their place in the universe.

Foster relationships that affirm and develop their understanding of the boys they are and the men they hope to be.  Campers can rely on us to give them the confidence to make friends and the support to practice habits of authentic friendship: telling the truth, working through problems, and communicating clearly and with genuine affection.  Friendships at Lanakila span age and interest, and campers can trust us to know them for who they are, believe in them for who they want to be, and love them without regard for the difference.

Create a program that gives boys structured choices about what they want to do and how they want to do it.  Campers can trust us to encourage them to try new activities and strengthen their skills in familiar ones.  We will continually strive to become more effective teachers of material that can endow campers with a sense of wonder, independence, safety, and strength.  Modeling our own commitment to our crafts, we hope to help campers redefine failure as a vital component of growth and judge success as much by their attitudes as by their actions.

Develop and nurture a community that inspires them to become their best versions of themselves.  Campers can rely on us to make Lanakila a safe place where they can thrive simply by being themselves, and they can expect us to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold them.   Finally, campers can trust that we will continue to make Lanakila a place worthy of their trust and affection: a place where aspirations and actions align; where honesty, integrity, and humor overcome cynicism and fear; and where our noblest dreams for ourselves and for the world seem not only plausible but can actually come true.

Written by 2010 Lanakila staff Bryan Partridge, Robbie Pennoyer and Jeremy Cutler.