Alumni of Experiential Travel Programs include current and former Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston staff. Without the dedication of time and effort from amazing staff, these opportunities would not be possible. In the spirit of recognizing and appreciating the importance of staff and their life changing relationships with Club teens and alumni, we have completed our first staff alumni highlight.
Hello Nick, I had the privilege of traveling twice with you to India so I am especially excited to talk with you and catch up. Tell us what you have been up to lately.
I am a Recruiter at Encore Boston Harbor in charge of recruiting for slots, tables, games, surveillance and warehouse jobs. We have just over 5,000 employees so there are many positions to fill. I’m also finishing my doctorate in law at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. I am researching how to match the benefits of the new economy to underresourced communities.
Sounds like an exciting place to work. Do you have any good stories?
I was flown to Las Vegas recently for a weeklong crash course on casino operations. I could not gamble but I Encore Boston Harbor put me up in a five-star resort! I loved Vegas!
That role is a change from your days as the Teen Director at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury but it does seem like you are bringing an equity lens to your work.
Yes, it is very different but I still am serving others. The thing that I love about this job is that I get to talk to people and give them new opportunities that can improve their lives. I am interested in addressing the inequality of opportunities to some people face. Many people and neighborhoods are not benefitting from Greater Boston’s growth.
So what is next for you?
I am getting married in August, which is obviously a big deal. I would like to stay in the corporate recruiting and workforce realm. My dream job would ultimately be the Director of Workforce Development for Massachusetts.
Thinking back to your time co-leading Explore India, what do you remember most?
First, I would never have dreamed of going to India. That was way beyond my comfort zone. Going to a country as far away as India and being responsible for youth on that level was new to me. It was a great experience. Watching young people change right in front of you was amazing. When teens returned to Boston, they were more self-aware and grateful. Teens put down their phones and began to live in the moment.
I also remember forming closer relationships with the teens because we spent so many intense moments together. You definitely build different, more meaningful relationships with teens through this experience. I was no longer ‘Nick the staff’ I was ‘Nick the person.’
What was your favorite part of the trip?
I enjoyed the camel trek in the Thar Desert and rafting the Ganges River. Those two experiences pushed the group out of our comfort zone. Everyone who thought they were fearless and tough, that hard shell faded away because people were genuinely afraid. Being in nature, not having access to reliable electricity or an internet connection, we had no choice but to be together.
Any funny memories?
Two come to mind. When we visited the Sikh Temple in New Delhi, I was pulled over to the grill to make naan. The volunteers there had a system set up and they were going very fast because they were feeding thousands of people per day. This Indian woman kept screaming at me to speed up. I was sweating from being so close to the fire. I was just trying to keep the pace and not get burned. It was stressful but fun.
The other memory, I slept in one morning in Jaipur and made the group 30 minutes late. It is funny now to think about but the teens were upset back then. That whole day the teens gave me a hard time. I felt bad and put myself on wake-up duty for the next two days!
I remember both of those days and can laugh back fondly on each of them now too! Has the experience you had with Explore India continued to impact you today?
Every time I run into someone from India, I want to talk to him or her. I get excited to tell them about all the places I visited and ask questions about India. It’s always going to be a part of me.
Do you have any advice for current Boys & Girls Club teens or staff about travel programs?
Make sure you go and enjoy the moment. Get off your phone. You worked for this experience so REALLY enjoy it. This is such a unique experience so value every moment of it!
Thanks for your time Nick. I know I will run into you at one of the reunion dinners soon! I hope your wedding goes well!