The Westmont Orbit: Unpacking Westmont’s Tight-Knit Community
Hello and happy Monday! I hope you’re all having great summers so far. I typically draw my inspiration for each post from a direct experience I have with the children during the week—a snapshot of the present at Westmont. This week, however, my inspiration came from a connection to the past. After reading one of my blogs, a fellow alum from my graduating kindergarten class reached out to me via social media expressing his excitement about my continued involvement with Westmont. The two of us were inseparable when we were children, but it had been fifteen years since we’d spoken! We started catching up and discovered that we both go to universities in New York City and plan to connect in the fall. I couldn’t help but sit back and consider why Westmont was able to pull us into the same orbit once again all these years later. This led me to thinking about the Westmont ‘orbit’—the unique and quintessentially Westmont dynamic between present students and alumni.
Westmont creates a mentality that focuses on the different roles children—and people—play rather than on the differences separating people. For example, the older children are often reminded of their status as role models for the younger children. Even when children return to Extended Day after they graduate, they continue to take their role model status seriously. As a result, Westmont keeps everyone in its orbit. I recently saw a Junior Counselor in Exploration Camp sitting on the floor reading a story to a camper nestled right against his side. The Junior Counselor was animated and completely invested in telling the story while the child hung on every word. I may as well have been invisible as I stood and watched them. Only at Westmont could the scene before me take place. Alumni return to their schools all the time, but at Westmont ‘returning’ isn’t the right word. You never truly leave Westmont’s orbit because the door is always open. Westmont continues to be invested in its students. The child sitting beside the Junior Counselor, hanging on every word, is able to look up and see himself as part of Westmont in the future—transformed and moving forward while always welcome back and part of the community. Westmont simultaneously recognizes and encourages the growth of its students while continuing to believe in their abilities and offer them an unwavering source of support.