At drop-off this past summer, you may have seen our leadership team wearing a yellow Bauercrest t-shirt with a lot of words on the back. Despite the commotion of move-in day, I hope you had a few seconds to read them, because they will tell you everything you need to know about who we are as a camp and what we expect of all those who call it home.
Throughout my time at Bauercrest, I have had my fair share of conversations with campers during which I have explained the difference between being annoying and being mean. The conversations typically (always) go something (exactly) like this:
Me: What would make you think it would be ok for you to do/say that to him?
Camper: He was annoying me.
Me: Do you think you’re ever annoying?
Camper: I don’t know.
Me: Well, I do know. YES. Everyone is annoying to someone else at one time or another. EVERYONE. Do you know what would happen to camp if we got rid of all the kids who were sometimes annoying?
Camper: We’d have a lot less kids?
Me: A lot fewer kids, but no. We’d be condos.
Me: Annoying we can handle, but mean?… (a shudder and look of disgust, which come simultaneously and completely naturally at this moment)… WE DON’T DO MEAN.
These aren’t just words on a t-shirt. We say them all the time because we (no pun intended) mean them. To be honest, I can’t really think of anything we mean more.
You may have heard a few weeks ago about the Framingham football coaches who were fired for exchanging racist texts with one another. The President of Framingham Youth Football was also fired for knowing about the texts and not doing anything about them for over a year. To me, the fact that they are adults who should know better pales in comparison to the fact that they were coaches… role models and leaders by definition. It makes my stomach sick.
As many of you know, Ken has been the President of Framingham Youth Lacrosse for the past ten years. In response to this disgraceful situation, he sent an email to his families, and I’d like to share it with you:
Hi Framingham Youth Lacrosse families,
Due to recent events, I felt compelled to write to you today, although all the facts are not substantiated and I hope for all our sakes that much of this isn’t true.
As a Framingham Youth Sports board, we take pride in our role in building our community. A community where using skin color, faith, or sexual orientation to divide people will NOT BE TOLERATED in our program or our community! Never have been and certainly never will be.
Our board and our coaches know what the expectation is at every level, and as a board, we continually evaluate our program, coaches, our roles on the board and welcome anyone to come to our board meetings to offer advice or to just hear what we do.
So rest assured, your children will be safe to be who they are and, with open arms, we will do our best to serve all of you as one Framingham Youth Lacrosse family. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Ken Cotton, Proud President of FYL
I wanted you to see this because Ken is the person who is ultimately responsible for making sure every role model and leader at Bauercrest is speaking with one voice. And the bottom line is, if that voice isn’t willing to say “Don’t be the mean kid” or “We don’t do mean” whenever necessary, there won’t be a place for him on the Hillside. Not in our family.
Every time Ken and I hear that a prospective camper is a “great athlete,” our response is always the same: If given the choice between a great athlete or a great kid, we’ll take the great kid every time. Sure, there are plenty who are both… but there are also plenty who aren’t. We only get these boys for two months a year. While we hope they know we are here for them during the other ten, we are also painfully aware of the fact that we have very little control over that part of their lives. If one of our own is struggling in school or at home and camp is the safe haven they look forward to all year long, we are going to do everything we can to provide that for them. So no, we are not willing to sacrifice everything we’ve been working toward for a mean kid who can dunk.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to let you know how grateful we are to be a part of this extraordinary Bauercrest family. Thank you for trusting us and talking to us and sharing your amazing-even-when-they’re-annoying boys with us. Thank you for letting us do what we love.
Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving that fills you not just with turkey and stuffing, but with love, laughter, and true meaning.