Tyler and Tate both served as Camp Counselors at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury this year. Between leading field trips and organizing group games for summer campers, they found time to catch up with us.
It seems like yesterday that you two were coming to the Club as kids. In fact, I remember hiring you both for your first job as 13-year-olds! Now you are adult staff and serving as mentors to new Club members.
Tate: Yes, its different! A lot of people have asked me, ‘Weren’t you just a Junior Staff?’ I feel great that people trust me to be a Counselor and the best part of my day is seeing the kids smile.
Tyler: After working a few weeks of summer camp, I have a greater appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes. As a Club member everything operated smoothly for me so I am thankful now that I know all the work that goes into making the Club happen.
So tell us what you guys have been doing recently.
Tate: I just finished up freshman year at Clark Atlanta where I’m majoring in Mass Communications. I made the Dean’s List. I am really happy. I never made the honor roll in high school so I set the goal to do better in college. When I graduate I am hoping to work in television or radio. I’d love to be a radio personality!
Tyler: I finished my third year of college. I’m at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology studying computer science. But I’ve been busy doing other things too. I coach the high school girls volleyball team at Cathedral High and I’ve been volunteering for a candidate running for Boston City Council.
Any thoughts on where you want to be in 3-4 years?
Tate: I’ll be looking for a job in Boston or Atlanta. I love both cities.
Tyler: I want to have a job in technology and security management.
Tyler, you did Explore Japan in 2014. Tate, you did Explore India in 2017. What do you remember about the program?
Tyler: I have a vivid memory of both the damage and recovery from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It was crazy to see how happy and grateful people were after experiencing that event. I learned a lot about resilience. I also remember the feeling of being an American in a foreign place.
Tate: In India the people were humble and thankful. Whether we were shopping, eating or visiting a famous site, the people were genuine and kind. I always try to be that way now.
Has your travel program experience continued to impact you today?
Tyler: I have more perspective. I am more humble. Weirdly, I have more body positivity. After learning about and using the public bath house in Japan, I see the body in a more confident, less shameful way. I miss that trip man!
Tate: I make sure to give back. We visited Don Bosco, a home for street children, and we played games and danced with them for an afternoon. One of the kids came up to another person in our group, Adonis, and said, ‘Don’t forget me.’ That moment I realized that we can impact one another so I want to give back more.
Do you want to share any favorite memories from your trip?
Tate: We went to the Taj Mahal and paid a professional photographer to take a group photo. But when he gave us the picture a few hours later, he had photoshopped a smile on a couple of people’s faces! That had us laughing for hours. The other highlight was when we visited the ghats in Pushkar. We prayed for something good to happen and on the way back to the bus, a guy called me Barack’s son!
Tyler: I loved visiting the elementary and high school to practice Japanese and meet kids our age in Japan. I also loved the meditation class where we learned about the calmness of the breath.
Any advice for today’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston teens about Experiential Travel Programs?
Tate: If you are going to do it, don’t be close-minded. When I went on the trip, people asked if India had electricity! If you are not planning on doing this program, you are missing out!
Tyler: Take the classes seriously. They prepare you for the trip. If you go to Japan you will be in front of people who may never have communicated in English. If you can communicate in Japanese, it will be a better experience for you.
Thanks for updating us on your lives. We hope to see you at the Alumni Summer Social.
Tyler and Tate: We are going to try to make it after we get out of work.