Serving with Basketball

Serving with Basketball

July 10, 2012

Pacific alumnus Ryan Turcott '08 follows a trend of service after Pacific education.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with a Pacific alumnus, Ryan Turcott ’08.

Ryan’s name has come up a couple of times in suggestions for potential stories, but it wasn’t until late June that I was able to get in touch with him. He’s spent the last year traveling around the world, teaching basketball camps for youth. Most recently, he was in Rwanda and Burundi for four months, working with youth—many who have lost families in the genocide there and who struggle with extreme poverty—as he uses basketball as a tool to teach life skills and confidence.

The story is over on the Pacific University homepage, but I think it has a place here, too. The Spring 2012 issue of Pacific magazine was all about civic engagement and community service, the countless ways in which Pacific people, be they students, alumni, faculty or staff, give back to their world. One magazine issue, though, was in no way enough to tell all the stories.

Ryan’s story shows yet another way in which Pacific University became part of someone’s life and journey and helped them change their world.

“Pacific will always be a special place to me. It was my first second-home,” he told me. He talked about finding a naturally friendly and welcoming place on his first campus visit and building friendships that last a lifetime. He said his professors inspired him and made him “really feel like I could do anything I wanted.”

And, he encouraged other Pacific students to follow his example, not necessarily with basketball, but with travel and service.

“I would love for you to pass on my strong recommendation for Pacific students to travel abroad and look for opportunities to volunteer/intern/work with organizations abroad, specifically in Africa,” he said. “There is such an opportunity for young Americans to have an impact in all aspects of life in Africa—health, education, business, development, etc.”