I have been watching friendships bloom and thrive at the Loft since we started the program and still it is a mystery to me. I know that we prepare the groundwork like a gardener prepares a seed bed. We establish rules to keep kids emotionally and physically safe, we provide common experiences for growth, we give lots of room for talking about everything and nothing, and we strive to be consistent yet innovative. Those are the things that we do, but why does it work? I have no idea.
I know that the Loft friendships work even when there are disparities in background, class, school achievement, aspirations, and abilities.
John as the underling and Nathan as the King during Pax Britannia (playing Italy in 2007)
I know that safety is a big component in creating friendships. If you can discuss your opinions without fear of ridicule you have set the groundwork for friendship. At the Loft there is lots of room for varying opinions and for members to change their opinions over time. We expect change and welcome it. We don’t expect that kids will have the same values as adults or that all people will share a common perspective.
Ryan and Noah during Road to the White House (2008)
I know that in school there are many gradations of what is acceptable. People are judged on things they can’t control like size, shape, clothing, and ancestry. One step out of line and you are a laughingstock. At the Loft we are less concerned about personal appearance.
Lyta, Rebecca, Madryn, Jesse and Taran demonstrate proper recyling for the City of Belfast
I am aware that it’s not the way you wear your hair that makes for Game Loft popularity.
Damion shows oiff a new style at the Game Loft Wild West party (2007)
I believe that the adventures of the mind that happen at the Loft go a long way toward the creation of friendships. Whether it is live chess or battling imaginary creatures in a Dungeons and Dragons game you have shared a bit of yourself that is seldom seen in other places.
Live Chess game at City Park (a long time ago - maybe 2004)
I have seen that friendships develop when we are called upon to exercise the best of our abilities and when we are praised for our work. Sharing those victories with our friends increases and enhances friendships.
Laithe and Devlin make theri presentation at the 1st Waldo County Speakers' Tournament (March 2014): the 2nd annual tournamernt is Feb. 28, 2015 - mark your calendars
I realize that all of these things create friendship. To maintain friendship they must be practiced over time. Over time we share ourselves, we forgive each other, and we treasure the qualities that we first admired. At the Loft we value each other as we are today and as the people we will become. We remember the past, enjoy today, and welcome tomorrow when all the mysteries of friendship may be revealed.
Amber in 2007