In the early 60s, after the opening of Camp Shasta, Lenette woke me up from a dream she was having: “Sy, I just dreamt we built and operated a Youth Hotel in Las Vegas. I saw the building, and it was all so real.”
She immediately went back to sleep, but I couldn’t. Instead, I thought, “How do I make this happen?” I had my answer in minutes.
I would assemble a group of well-off people who were sending their kids to camp and who might be willing to invest based on their camp experience and the quality of the investment. Lenette and I would do all the leg work and be the operators.
One of our parents happened to be a CPA who did this kind of work. I called, and we met. He liked the idea, and we put a group together.
Lenette and I were so jazzed by the idea that we sold our home and moved to Las Vegas. Lenette soon found a house to purchase, and we all moved into our new digs.
Then, we began to search for land. As they say, “Location, location, location.” We found our ideal 5 acres across from a large church and a growing community. Also, they were beginning construction of houses and apartments in the neighborhood.
It was a perfect place for the programs we planned, including a preschool, afterschool program for elementary kids, tutoring, guidance, sports, and week-end programs for older kids.
We intended to cover all bases when it came to youth, and we did.
Lenette designed the building with these many programs in mind. Our preschool occupied about a third of the property with its own playground. The many other programs each had their own space. Walls were moveable, making rooms expandable. There was a full kitchen and a multi-use dining room. Dormitories for boys and girls when parents needed to be away for weekends. An Olympic-sized outdoor pool and a four-acre athletic field. If it could be thought of, Lenette found a place for it.
The Children’s Campus was designed to be a private community center for all ages, addressing most families’ needs for their children’s well-being and education. Lenette did all the drawings and gave her best to the design, so much so that architectural firms sought to hire her.
Whatever Lenette took on, she gave it her best—including caring for me, Jeff, and the pets, making us a home, teaching, and being a counselor at camp. All this while running the business end of our firm.
The staff we hired for every program was as professional and able as Las Vegas had to offer. As always, training for excellence never ceased, and success was achieved in every program. Not only was the Children’s Campus growing in reputation but also in enrollment and use.
Later on, when I worked with professionals and entrepreneurs, Lenette typed my research notes. She was my “go-to gal” whenever I needed to discuss my discoveries. Looking back, it’s clear that Lenette made me what I became.