Outreach Director of B4BC
Your name and official title
Blair Young, Outreach Director for Boarding For Breast Cancer @B4BC
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born and raised in the Midwest, playing every organized sport I possibly could, I always try to keep myself connected with nature, and I’m a huge music fan!
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to live near the ocean. I moved to L.A. in 2004 to pursue a career in the music industry, but soon found myself on the opposite end of the spectrum in the non-profit world.
What type of music do you listen to?
I mostly listen to indie rock/alternative genres. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to The Big Pink, Local Natives, The Temper Trap, Broken Bells, The XX and the new White Stripes live album.
What sports are you actively involved in?
Snowboarding, longboarding (skate), and when I feel like embarrassing myself I’ll attempt to catch a few waves! I’m also a big baseball and soccer fan.
What drew you into the action sports industry?
Ever since I can remember I’ve been an avid action sports fan and participate—that love introduced me to B4BC and unexpectedly drew me into the industry.
Before B4BC my work experience is pretty limited. When I moved to L.A., I was right out of college trying to work my way into the music industry. I had an amazing internship at QPrime/ Volcano Records and soon after I took a job working for a music PR company where I was working on record launches and probably more memorable the Playboy Jazz Festival—(which turned out to be pretty surreal). I found myself a few times at press conferences at the Playboy Mansion escorting Hugh Hefner around to get interviews with the different media outlets. I’m only assuming I got that responsibility because I was the only blonde in the group—go figure, haha!
Tell us what your role is at Boarding For Breast Cancer?
By status, I’m the Outreach Director, but being a small non-profit we have to juggle a lot of different roles. However, my main responsibilities involve managing our educational outreach activities—which can entail anything from event production, coordinating volunteers, booth promotions, and being an educator in the booth itself, etc.
A few other roles I have are managing the website/social communities, writing our monthly newsletter, and working with our student ambassadors to create more awareness on campuses.
What does your daily routine look like … take us through it
Hmmm, no day is the same for me. Since we’re juggling different roles it’s hard to pin down a daily routine, so it’s important for me to make a list of priorities that I need to focus on that day and week. A lot of the time my priorities depend on whether or not I’m going into or coming off from an event. Then my day would focus on event preparation or post-event reconciliation.
On a daily basis I do communicate with members in our volunteer community because chances are someone somewhere is working with us to raise awareness in their community—we have awesome volunteers!
One thing I need to get better at incorporating daily is updates on our social communities. I’m realizing that even if there’s no “real news” to post it doesn’t matter. Any interaction is important in maintaining a pro-active community!
With your current position, do you travel much?
During the winter season I’m traveling several days out of the week during the months of January-March. During the Summer/Fall months I’m mostly SoCal mobile. Where? In the winter, I travel to various mountains nationwide. This season I was in Aspen & Vail (CO), Mt. Snow & Stratton (VT), Waterville Valley (NH), Beech Mtn. (NC), and locally at Big Bear, Mammoth, and Mt. High (CA). In the summer, I head to Tahoe for our Skate the Lake event and usually travel to the East Coast for a few days to meet up with our girl on the road with the Vans Warped Tour.
Tell us about some of the companies and brands that are partners and supporters of B4BC?
We have phenomenal support from the brands in the industry. Skullcandy, The North Face, and Nixon over the last few years have been standouts in terms of financial contributions. We’ve had long-time partnerships with Bonfire, Vans, Volcom, etnies, CCS, Von Zipper and others.
The brand support is important to us in so many different ways. Through the partnerships we’re able to utilize fun and interesting ways to target the brands community and ultimately gain outreach and awareness to a broader audience. So it’s a great way for us to all work and make an impact together.
Tell us about the work atmosphere at Boarding For Breast Cancer?
We have a modest little space in a creative marketing/advertising building in Hollywood. It’s busy, but we try to keep the atmosphere pretty mellow. Some days can get a little challenging when you’re working from such a small space—but luckily there are some fantastic massage chairs in the lobby of the building that we can take advantage of when things get tense!
Even though we try to keep things light, the fact of the matter is we’re working for a cause and some days we get a number of heart-wrenching emails or phone calls from people that are being affected by breast cancer. Emotionally it can really wear you out, but for the most part that’s also what fuels the fire and inspires us to keep moving forward.
What are some of the perks of your job?
Hands down the biggest perk is having the opportunity to be able to educate young people/all people for that matter about their bodies. Being able to give people the right tools to approach something as important as their health is a pretty amazing thing!
Also, I have to admit another perk is that much of the time we’re able to educate and interact with people from the beach or mountain—who would complain about that?
Tell us a bit about Boarding For Breast Cancer, Monica Steward and how it got started and how and when you got involved?
B4BC was founded in 1996 by Tina Basich, Shannon Dunn, Lisa Hudson, and Kathleen Gasperini, with the inspiration coming from a woman named Monica Steward.
Monica had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26, but prior to her diagnosis, she had been misdiagnosed several times by doctors as being “too young for the disease”. Monica passed away two years later.
Her friends (B4BC founders) wanted to create an event that centered around their mutual passions, snowboarding and music, to communicate the message of awareness while raising money for research and educating young women about breast cancer. The event they created was called the Boarding For Breast Cancer Snowboard & Music Festival.
That initial event fueled the idea to create a year-round traveling educational booth in order to increase the outreach nationwide and to different audiences in the action sports world.
I’m not sure when I first become aware of B4BC, but it was more than likely shortly after the initial event. I think I read about it in one of the Snowboard Magazines.
At the time I had a family member battling the disease, so I immediately took a sense of belonging to the B4BC community. From that point on I had hoped to get involved in some capacity.
Shortly after moving to LA I saw the B4BC booth at a surf event, asked how I could get involved, and the next week I was volunteering! I think I volunteered at every event B4BC had that summer. I found great value in what the booth was able to accomplish week in and out and I learned a lot about healthy breast practices and what I could do decrease my own odds against the disease.
Eventually my volunteer commitment lead to a position and here I am 5 years later!
Where do you see Boarding For Breast Cancer within the next 2-5 years?
In the very near future we’re looking to grow our staff, which will enable us to better develop and create new programs. So among other things, in the next few years I hope to see a strong nationwide B4BC student ambassador program.
Peer to peer communication is a valuable means to get our message out and a developed ambassador program will allow us to have exponential outreach growth.
What projects do you have coming up in the near future?
One project that we’re currently working on is better developing our Survivor Scholarship Program. Whereas we support women in recovery by re-connecting them with nature by giving them an opportunity to attend a retreat full of riding/surfing, yoga, and life coach sessions to encourage personal power.
In addition to that program, this summer our educational booth will be on the Vans Warped Tour, as well as be onsite at the US Open of Surfing, and Summer X Games. We’ll also be hosting our annual Surf 4 Awareness contest and Skate the Lake and Coast events. So we have a busy summer ahead!
How has Boarding For Breast Cancer been using social media?
We’ve been utilizing Myspace, Facebook, and now Twitter for the last few years. As we all know social communities are amazing for keeping people interested and informed. We’re working on some ideas for a fun and educational twitter campaign this summer—so stay tuned.
We also launched an iphone app this year with Lyn-z Adams Hawkins as our spokeswoman. It’s the “breast cancer awareness telephone” or “BAT Phone”. It turns your dial pad hot pink and has tabs on it with images on how to properly perform a breast self-exam as well as our “7 tips to Stomp Out Breast Cancer”.
So we try to stay in the social media mix as much as possible!
How has the economy affected your part of the industry?
It’s definitely a difficult time. However, given the state of the economy, it doesn’t take away people’s aspirations to want to help us with the cause. We’ve had to pull back the reigns on some new programming, but ultimately have been able to sustain.
What do you like and not like about working within the action sports industry?
I like how there’s a real sense of community in the action sports world. We’re all brought together by the board sports that we love and are passionate in the things that we do. Whether individuals or companies are reaching out to our organization to see how they can help or finding new ways to be environmentally conscious, etc.; everybody seems to be working to find ways to make a positive impact and to give back to the community.
I also like the fact that you can take a meeting on a chairlift—what other industry can say that?
As far as a dislike goes, I don’t get too many free concert tickets in this industry…something I still have to get over.
What do you think about group Y and its events?
I think group Y is awesome and an important network to maintain for the action sports industry. Overall the action sports community is pretty small, but the lifestyle of action sports is incredibly appealing to the mainstream. So I think the group Y Network is an exceptional way to bring all the brands together to get a better understanding of what we can do to further grow and better our industry.
Any parting words?
Yes, love your boobs ladies! Please check out www.b4bc.org for more info on healthy breast practices and prevention!
Also, are you a fan of ours yet on Facebook? Following us on Twitter? If not, go here http://www.b4bc.org/index.php?area=ontheweb and get yourself on board!
Thanks for the support!