Tristan Penn named Wattles Club Director

About Tristan

I’m originally from McPherson, Kansas and went to school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. I graduated with a degree in Psychology – Child & Family Development. I’ve lived in Portland for two and a half years and I love the area and scenery.

Boys & Girls Club experience

During college, I worked part-time for the Boys & Girls Club in Lawrence, Kansas. My first position was jointly working for BGC as well as with a local mental health organization as a Youth Psychosocial Worker. I worked one on one with Club Members who were on the Autism Spectrum or had severe behavioral, social, and emotional delays and required individual interventions and support while at the Club. After I graduated, I worked full-time for the club as the Volunteer Coordinator. At the time, there was no volunteer management system in place, so I was tasked with creating one. Additionally, I created, managed, implemented, and tracked a mentoring program specific to our Club Members under an OJP Federal Mentoring Grant. After that, I had the opportunity to open a new Club and be the Unit Director for 5 Years at an in-school Club at Quail Run Elementary in Lawrence. After 5 extremely REWARDING years at Quail Run, I decided to take a leap of faith and move 2,000 miles away from home and to work in Eastern Washington as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties. I then decided to move to Portland where I had been working for the last two and a half years for a for-profit after-school program in the Tigard/Tualatin School District and the West Linn/Wilsonville School district.

What are you looking forward to most about working for BGCP?

I’m most excited about meeting the members, families, and community members that all contribute to Wattles’ greatness!

Why do you love working with youth?

I love working with youth because no day is EVER the same and some of the most profound, thoughtful and creative things I’ve ever heard have come out of the mouths of people under the age of 18.

What you like to do for fun?

I LOVE reading and I try to read 1-2 books a month. I enjoy staying healthy so I go to the gym every morning. I love drawing/painting although I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. Lastly, I love exploring my new home in the PNW.

Other activities are you involved in?

I’m currently getting my Masters in Organizational Leadership.

Favorite thing about the Wattles Club so far?

I love the history that Wattles exudes. Everyone I have met (Club Member, Parent, Staff, Community Member, etc.) has a personal connection and story about Wattles; and by the end of the story they are inevitably smiling.

What inspires you?

Knowing that there is so much possibility and potential in the youth (and staff) that we serve. Seeing the possibility and potential in them turn into action, growth, and maturity because of the Club is profoundly inspirational. Seeing former Club Members and Staff Members that I’ve had the privilege to serve when I first began working at the Club, succeed in their now young adult lives is so impactful and inspirational. It inspires me to always continue growing and learning as a professional, myself.