Ian first attended Operation Snowball in the spring of 1989, when he was a sophomore at Naperville North. A friend had invited him to the substance abuse prevention and leadership development retreat which he still calls “awesome!”
He says he felt like he had come home, and connected with peers and adults better than he had ever done so before.
It was a welcome relief as he described feeling like he didn’t fit in prior to attending. The 360 Youth Services retreat includes focus on meaningful interaction with others. Ian would participate again in the fall of 1989 and had another great experience. Since that time, he has served in numerous leadership roles, including as Teen Director and then Adult Director. Ian is still using the skills developed through Snowball today.
“Personally, I am certain my relationship with my wife is stronger because of the social and communication skills I learned there,” he says. They have been happily married for 18 years. “Professionally, as a school counselor, Snowball is at the root of everything I do,” he added. “My relationship with students and my belief and faith in youth, all come from Snowball.” His belief in youth comes into play every day as he works as a Guidance Counselor at Streamwood High School.
It’s been more than 25 years since Ian first attended Snowball. Whether strumming the guitar to relax, or guiding kids just like he once was, he is ensuring the valuable life lessons he learned from Snowball live on.
And that’s where Ian is now.