Lizzie Erickson, a former Vestar Branch Youth of the Year, recently graduated college and has reached out to help build an Alumni Club for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.
Tell us what you have been up to since graduating high school.
I finished senior year a few weeks ahead of high school graduation and left for Vietnam with my best friend (another BGCS Club alumna). A proud fourth-generation Wildcat, I enrolled at the University of Arizona the following Fall. There, I pledged Kappa Alpha Theta and was elected Chief Executive Officer in 2020. I was disconnected from the Boys & Girls Club for the first time … that is until I earned an internship at Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Washington, DC (2018). I served with government relations and advocacy staff, primarily educating legislative aides on Capitol Hill and preparing for the National Youth of the Year celebration. This December, I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Public Management & Policy from the University of Arizona. Now, I am on the job hunt.
What impact did the Club have in helping you prepare for where you are now?
Without writing a novel about all the Club has given me, I’d sum it up by saying the Club has informed my professional trajectory and work ethic. The nonprofit and youth development world fits my interests and values like a glove. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As for my work ethic, the Club definitely gave me a “first to come, last to leave” mentality that quickly became second nature. Nothing is “not my job,” and that mindset has served me so well in a variety of settings.
What inspired you to volunteer to help develop an alumni program?
As the initial chaos of March lulled into smaller, isolated fires, I cc’d Liz Byrne and Christian Sanft, both BGCS Branch Directors, on an email with the subject line, “BGCS Alumni Club: Does she exist; or may I start one?”. I tend to be the “gatherer” of the group—planning trips, dinners, (Zoom) happy hours—you name it, I’ve organized it. As President of my Fraternity, in the dead of lockdown, I wrote and mailed 243 letters to each member of my chapter. My brand of leadership is centered on care, undoubtedly because it was modeled by the Club when I was young. Helping people feel connected in the crowd is the noblest endeavor someone can take on. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Alumni Club will strengthen the fabric of our family. If there was a single lesson to be learned in 2020, it’s that people crave connection, and I want to pass that gift on to my fellow alumni!