Youth Enrichment Services (YES) recently had the chance to sit down and talk with some of our amazing alumni. Our most recent conversation was with Washawn Castro, who participated in YES programs as a teen and was a recipient of the Richard Williams Memorial Scholarship. Washawn currently serves on the YES Advisory Council and Alumni Relations Committee.
Washawn joined YES in 2011 when he was in 9th Grade as part of the Junior Volunteer Program (currently known as Leadership Corps Program). During his time at YES, he learned how to ski and was also a teen instructor on the slopes teaching younger YES youth how to ski. One of Washawn’s favorite annual memories with YES was attending the annual Diversity Day at Pats Peak on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Washawn tells us, “With my family originally being from Jamaica, I never saw myself as someone who would enjoy the mountains and learn how to ski.” And now he teaches his friends how to ski!
During the summer, Washawn also had the opportunity to spend many days with YES at Swann Lodge as a teen staff. (A memorable experience for many YES youth and alums!) He remembers camping, hiking, and canoeing at the rustic, rural lodge in the Berkshires. Washawn says that being out in nature without technology allowed him to live in the moment and experience a change from his usual life attached to his phone. “My time as a summer staff member taught me how to take initiative,” says Washawn. “YES allowed me to experience and learn new skills that I never thought I would have.”
Washawn currently works at Eastern Housing Court in the Clerk’s Office where he serves as a Case Specialist. In his free time, he enjoys skiing as well as yoga, cooking, watching horror films, and taking walks.