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Staff Spotlight: Mr. Jack

June 14

man smiling at camera in a black shirt with peaches on it wearing a black hatMr. Jack started as a virtual school day pod leader with Wisconsin Youth Company when the organization provided in-person programming to support virtual schooling at the beginning of the pandemic. Though he has been with WYC for a short time, Mr. Jack has gained experience fast in a variety of positions. He was site supervisor at Chavez Elementary this past school year, and is now camp director of Camp Pleasant Valley. Mr. Jack has worn many hats — all with enthusiasm and dedication.

Q1: What has been your favorite memory from working at Wisconsin Youth Company so far?

My favorite memory has to be playing Dungeons & Dragons with a group of kids last year and how excited they would get about the game. There was one time in particular I had them answer a riddle so they could cross a bridge and skip a fight with a sphinx. But one of the kids initiated the fight with the sphinx anyway. Seeing all of their reactions was incredible.

Q2: What is the most important thing you learned as a child that still applies today?

I think how to express myself through my interests. I had a hard time as a child with confidence and speaking up for myself, but always found it comforting to express myself through other mediums such as art or physical activity, and the groups I joined through these shared interests also helped me in that regard.

Q3: Who was a mentor you looked up to when you were younger? Why did you look up to them?

Mr. Schaller, my graphic design teacher in high school. He was charismatic, so going to his class was always fun. He pushed us harder than anyone had before, and that showed me that he cared about all of us and wanted us to succeed. He also wanted to get input to make each one feel unique to that group. He was always adept at trying new things. We would have banquets, go on field trips, had a “design scout” program, and even did a 24-hour design-a-thon and all of this was from our own creation.

Q4: What is your favorite part about working with kids?

Children have unique views on everything. I find it fulfilling to just talk to children and learn about their interests, goals, aspirations, and stories. I want to be the supporting figure they might not get elsewhere. Working with and being around children all day also makes me feel like a kid again. It fulfills me in a way that no other job I’ve had previously can.

Say “hi” to Mr. Jack next time you see him!