By: Solymar Estrella, BGCSDC Alum and Summer Intern
What is a Club kid after they leave for college, five hours away from the place they called home, and no longer a ten-minute drive from the Club? Who are they now? Club Alumni? College Students? Outsiders? This summer, all roads led back to the Club. I had the opportunity to intern at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties and be that Club kid again. Even though I was introduced as an alumnus, I still saw myself as a Club kid, but one with an exclusive backstage pass to a world I had only seen from the outside; the world of non-profit.
Going back to the Club, whether I am there to stop by and say hi to my mentors or attend an event, I am always reminded of the person I was and the change I have experienced. I used to let my hardships define me. I believed what broke me down could somehow characterize me. However, returning to the Club this summer officially as an “adult” in need of inspiration or a reminder of the power I held within, I was reminded of everything I no longer am. Behind the scenes, in my official position as Communications Intern, I was able to highlight all the events that I attended as a teen: Keystone, GYLS, STAR County Day, and so on. Starting a new position is always intimidating; however, around my little cubicle, I was surrounded by faces I had known since the beginning of my Club experience. Those faces that I saw as mentors became my coworkers and guides on everything I needed to know as a fellow staff member.
At every step of the way throughout my summer internship, I was supported by the warmth the Club extends to everyone who walks through the doors. I was led by my younger self, the one who held the memories of the Club close, and wrote the words you see throughout the website, Instagram, Facebook, and so on. I was brought back to the place I call my second home, a place I needed to return, not only to learn and grow as a professional in my field but to remind myself of the growth I have achieved since leaving for college.
My internship at the Club has only enhanced my Club experience, as I know it does not end here with the closing of this chapter. The doors at the Club never close. As they say, "Once a Club kid, always a Club kid; " even if you are now a Club alumni.