Ms. Sylvia: Reflections on a Career
“For the family that raised me,
The family that I joined,
and the family that we made.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
It Takes a Village (Introduction)
On May 13, 2016, I will begin a new chapter in my life as I retire from my service to the children, parents and staff of the Kids’ Country family. My husband, Jon and I will make our new home in Colorado Springs, CO where we will be close to our daughter, Erica, son-in-law, Charles and our beautiful granddaughter, Ariana. Even as I am most anxious to enter this new phase of my life, I continue to reflect upon the people and experiences that shaped my life over the 25 years I have spent in the family that is Kids’ Country.
If a single word could describe my feelings about my future, that word would be “hope.” If a single word could describe my feelings about my years with Kids’ Country, that word would be “celebration.” Simply put, I will always celebrate the life-enriching experiences I was privileged to receive while being part of the family of children, family and staff that collectively make Kids’ Country so amazing. To me Kids’ Country was never a “place”, it was and is and always will be a wonderful “village” of parents, Elementary School, and Kids’ Country staff representatives who are singularly dedicated to providing a safe, secure, and growth providing environment that is worthy of our children. Shortly after I was privileged to become part of this family, then-First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton paid a visit to our Greenbrook site and and spoke from her book entitled It Takes a Village. One chapter in her book offered a reminder that “Child Care Is Not A Spectator Sport.” That thought then became the “Guiding Star” of my career as I then came to understand that it would always take the active involvement of each part of our village if we were going to be successful in not only raising “good children,” but also in building “good citizens.”
As my retirement plans have been made known, I have been asked about some of the more memorable things and experiences that have shaped my journey with Kids’ Country in my various capacities as an Assistant, Assistant Director, and Site Director. As the remembrances are too numerous to capture in this message, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the various groups that have made my experience so fulfilling and rewarding:
- I am most grateful to the many children who brought their energy, joy and laughter with them every single day. Each morning I could feel their eagerness to face the new day, and each afternoon I could see their excitement in sharing in activities with their ever-growing group of friends. Over the years, our children taught me two very important truths about life:
- “There is no filter for the thoughts and expressions of a Kindergartner.”
- “Out of the mouths of Babes come pearls of wisdom.”
- I have always been both appreciative of, and humbled by, the trust the parents had in me as they allowed me and my dedicated staff to care for their children on a daily basis. I will have lasting memories of the many times that parents joined in the fun and excitement of the talent shows their children presented and the holiday occasions we shared together.
- The Elementary School principals, teachers and administrative staffs will be remembered for their support as we were able to join together in cooperation and mutual respect as we collectively managed the safety our children’s daily transfer between our different environments. Their active support of our quality initiatives was instrumental to our successful National Accreditation achievements.
- Mere thanks cannot describe my gratitude to Kids’ Country leadership who allowed me to participate in the National Accreditation initiative and process. Perhaps more than any single portion of my experiences, this work spurred my growth as a Director because it challenged me to focus upon initiating and building quality-oriented, “best practices” in the programs I was privileged to lead in the sites I managed. Their support continued through every phase of this important and challenging process and the support enabled me and many of my colleagues to help move toward our goal of making Kids’ Country the best child day care family in the universe!
- Last, and certainly not least, I extend my deepest thanks to each and every staff member I have been fortunate to lead over the years. I have nothing but respect for their individual talents and the many contributions they have made in making the Kids’ Country experience for the parents and children we serve. Thank you not only for your dedication but also for your full time efforts to maintain a “family environment’ in our daily work. I can assure each of you that for every one thing I may have taught you, you have taught me three.
I am excited about the future of the entire Kids’ Country family. Stacy Litteral has built an outstanding team at each level of the organization—a talented, dedicated group whose commitment to excellence is unsurpassed! I will be cheering for each and every one of you and would very much like to be considered “Chief Cheerleader” for the Kids’ Country family.
I will not close this message with a traditional “good-bye” Please consider this a reminder that we will always be in touch through our many wonderful thoughts and memories.
In warmest regards,