“Where dreams come true” – Disney World
“Just do it.” - Nike
“Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus” (“Never tickle a sleeping dragon”) – Hogwarts
“Don’t Be Evil” – Google
“Be Prepared” – Boy Scouts
“Be worthy of your heritage.” – Deerfield Academy
When you read the tagline “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” on a movie screen, you know that the film to follow will be distant from everyday experience, will feel ancient like a myth or legend, and will take place in outer space. When an Apple engineer considers the company motto “Think different,” she knows her methods and products should break from the norm. When the US Marines read “Semper Fidelis” (“Always Faithful”) on their flag, they remember that their purpose is to serve Corp and Country together.
The Experimentory has a motto to set expectations, focus the things we do, and remind us of why we’ve come together. This motto is:
Experimentory: Maximize your Creativity and Character
E = MC2
Let’s unpack that a bit.
E is for Experimentory
Have you thought about our funny name before? It is, of course, a completely made-up word -- but nevertheless made up of meaningful parts. It contains the word “Experiment.” We learn on our feet, by trying, failing, considering what went wrong, and then trying again. It contains the word “mentor.” Our teachers coach and guide rather than lecture and instruct. And the suffix “–tory” (found in factory or dormitory) means place. So we’re a place to experiment with mentors.
M is for Maximize (your)
Our summer together is an opportunity –- let’s make the most of it rather than only puttering along at half-speed. Note the verb tense: this is an instruction –- an action point for kids and staff alike. And, although it doesn’t get its own letter, the “your” is important, too. You aren’t in a contest to see whose work is the best; you are striving to do your best. Sometimes you’ll make something mind-blowingly awesome, but your daily satisfaction will come when today’s work is a little better than yesterday’s.
C is for Creativity
It is clear from the applications that come in that we are a collection of wild imaginations –- let’s let them loose! We should encourage, inspire and challenge one another. But creativity is more than just imagination. We want our work to result in creations –- tangible projects to share with others. This means coordinating our efforts towards our common goals.
C is for Character
Moral fiber, generosity, grit, empathy. These sorts of personal qualities are essential when working together for a common goal –- whether at a summer program or anywhere else in life –- so we want to put building character front and center. They also tie into many of our personal Experimentory goals, such as making new friends, learning to live away from home, and engaging with people different from ourselves.
Let’s not forget that little “2”
If we strive together to do our best creative work and be our best selves, the results will be exponential -– more than if we added up what we could each do alone.
To borrow a metaphor from our Architecture and Urban Design classes, the Experimentory Formula is a scaffold, not a structure. It exists to help you build something more significant and enduring than a catchphrase or a fun month in the summer. What will you make? How will you grow? What will you learn? Who will you be?
How will you maximize your creativity and character?