We are excited to welcome two new additions to the RSYP family – Ari Cameron and Johnathan McFarland!
Ari joins us as the Youth Operational Board/Special Projects Coordinator (and a Sexual Health Education Faciltator). She has a lot of experience working in afterschool programs, and she’s also an amazing poet!
You probably recognize Johnathan – he started at RSYP as a youth participant, became a Massachusetts Promise Fellow/AmeriCorps Volunteer working in the Jobs & Careers Program, and is now the brand new Apprenticeship and Outreach Associate.
To get to know them better, we asked them five questions – and we’re sharing their answers with you!
1. How did you find RSYP?
Ari: I found RSYP after searching (for months!) for an awesome and dynamic youth development organization in Columbia/Dutchess/ Berkshire County. I was living in NYC at the time, working as a teaching artist and curriculum builder, and knew I needed a shift. After reading about RSYP and their mission, I was sold. After working for various other youth-centered non-profits, the follow through and integrity of this place is really impressive.
Johnathan: A few weeks after I moved to southern Berkshire County in 2015, I was told by my aunt to come by and check out RSYP.
2. What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
Ari: I take off my shoes! And water my garden.
Johnathan: The first thing I do when I get home is try and spend time reflecting about the day.
3. What was your childhood nickname?
Ari: Oof. I blush a lot and always have so my friends called me Tomato Face.
Johnathan: On my birth certificate I am officially named Johnathan, but until the time I was 18 people called me Jack.
4. When was the last time you laughed really hard?
Ari: Over the summer I managed a teen farm camp in Columbia County. We had a really great session with 16 campers who got very close. On the second-to-last day, we decided we wanted to give them something, but didn’t want it to be an object or food – we wanted to give them an experience. So we split up into teams and asked the campers to turn a staff person into a woodland creature of some kind. They had an hour to cover us with mud, sticks, moss, leaves – anything they could find – and to create a convincing backstory and name for us. I could barely breathe I was laughing so hard (and because my mouth had dirt in it).
Johnathan: The last time that I laughed really hard was watching the Louis CK special “At the Comedy Store“.
5. What things are you looking forward to most this fall?
Ari: I am super excited to start meeting people. I am planning some poetry events in collaboration with Monument Mountain High School staff and really looking forward to bringing that part of my life into the youth work I do here. I am also looking forward to having the opportunity to teach young people some of the important concepts around sexual health that I never got as a young person.
Johnathan: What I am looking forward to the most is being able to continue the valuable work that is done at Railroad Street Youth Project!
Welcome, Ari and Johnathan! We look forward to seeing great things from you!