To begin, I will write about myself and my life as best I remember. I will not, henceforth, write about others unless given permission. I am permitting myself full disclosure.
The title, A Leader of Leaders, is not a play on words but a reality I have come to recognize. To explain further, I must share more of myself. From about the age of 7, until I entered the service, I was part of a group but never a member of the group. They were important to me, and I participated fully, but I also know I felt no need for membership. I was then, and am to this day, independent.
In the service, I made acquaintances but built no relationships with anyone until I encountered the Japanese prisoners, who became my family. I was their leader, and they were my dearest friends, caregivers, and mentors. Even after spending a little over a year together, their influence on me exists to this day.
At UCLA, I was a student that came to class and left afterward for work each day. UCLA gave me Lenette and education but no memories and no friendships. I know how much I must have missed. But my needs were not there. In 1948 I created a Day Camp. Little did I know that this would grow and become a large part of my life. At the Los Angeles Board of Education, I was a child psychologist, educator, folk singer, and storyteller. I enjoyed each part I played, but being my own leader stole me from them, and I became a well-educated entrepreneur.
Together with Lenette, we grew our wings and our child work. Our firm (Youth Systems Unlimited) ultimately became world-renowned. We were a “one of a kind” youth organization for 27 years. Throughout it all, I have realized that my role was, indeed, a leader of leaders.