In the Community
Brian Bevacqua ’10 is a volunteer firefighter, a substitute teacher, and a stand out volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club. He works for Still River Outfitters and the Vermont Achievement Center; he’s a tour guide for the GMC admissions office, and he’s had a role in every GMC theater production during his undergraduate career. In the Little Shop of Horrors he played Audrey II, the giant man-eating plant. It’s safe to say Brian likes to be in the thick of the action.
“I do way too much for my own good,” he laughs. "I am involved in absolutely everything and anything.”
And he wouldn’t have it any other way. For Brian, his eclectic activities are all about making a difference in the lives of those around him. “I grew up helping people,” he says. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
For his enthusiasm and dedication, Brian earned two awards at the 2010 spring Honors Tea: the Theater Senior Award and the President’s Award for Exceptional Service and Dedication to the Greater Community.
The latter acknowledges the difference he has made in Poultney, the surrounding communities and even greater New England. He’s a fixture at the Poultney Volunteer Fire Department – a pager permanently fixed to his belt to respond to an emergency at a moment’s notice – and at the local elementary schools where he’s often called in to substitute teach.
For the Appalachian Mountain Club – the non-profit organization that maintains the 2,178 mile-long trail running from Georgia to Maine - he’s logged over 300 volunteer hours in four years. He’s served on the information crew, led backcountry hikes, taught youth programs, and more. In addition to gaining valuable experience in the field, he points out that volunteer work may translate into job opportunities down the line, especially for some much-coveted positions on the AT.
“You’re looking at 300-400 applications for two to three spots,” he says. “Being a volunteer definitely gives you a leg up.”
Learning from the outdoors has been part of Brian’s life since childhood, and his experiences influenced his college choice.
“I was an Eagle Scout who did a lot of backpacking and hiking and wanted to pursue it further,” he says. Once he found the adventure education program at GMC he never looked back. Shortly after his arrival, GMC launched the youth development and camp management program and he decided to go for a dual major.
In the future, despite multiple job offers and opportunities he’s in the midst of sorting out, Brian ultimately knows he wants to be “working with kids in an outdoor setting.”
“I believe that you can change a child’s life just by introducing them to the outdoors,” he says. “It opens up so many doors.” During an overnight hike, or a day on the ropes course, children become fully immersed in what they’re doing, Brian says, and walk away the better for it. They learn how to separate healthy and unhealthy risk; they learn how to interact with others; they become more confident in their abilities and knowledgeable of their weaknesses.
“These are the life-altering things our field can do,” he says. “It’s mind blowing.”