831. A Day in the Life–What's It Really Like to Be an Alternative Education Innovator?
“I think that where we are right now we are seeing that the generation that’s coming of age truly doesn’t know what it is they want to do. And there are many reasons for that. I can totally understand that, but if they position themselves in a way that they can test drive a number of different things, just to see how it fits, just to see how that makes them feel, then I think it is really a powerful way to begin the journey for them. So obviously we specialize a lot in that process. And I really believe that so much of that happens outside of school.”
Steve Robertson is the CEO of Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs (JKCP), an organization specializing in youth-to-adult programming that turns curiosity into passion and skill. Steve has been with the company for 20 years. In this role, his primary responsibility is to cultivate a culture that results in memories lasting a lifetime. Steve is an expert on youth development and education as well as understanding and adapting to youth.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“Twenty years ago, I came to the United States from South Africa on a tennis trip with some of our more talented youth and we toured around playing tournaments. In Philadelphia, I met Julian Krinsky. We had some amazing conversations and after more time together, he said, “Why don’t you and your family come and join us?” Here was an organization that was doing tennis and golf camps, a program called Enrichment, where students could sample anything from robotics to coding, public speaking, fashion, cooking, even college credit classes. I looked at this and thought, ‘They have taken something they were passionate about—tennis—and they have grown it far beyond that!’ When I got home from that trip, I said to my wife, ‘If we’re ever going to do something like pick up and move, now would be a good time to do it.’ She pondered that for a month or so, and we decided to leave South Africa and come to the U.S. It was unquestionably the best decision of our lives, for me and my entire family.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
1. I try very hard to have an attitude of gratitude, which helps me find satisfaction in every aspect of my work.
2. Culture is the foundation of who we are as a business, so I focus on what culture looks like and feels like throughout our organization.
3. Research is a passion of mine. I do an immense amount of reading and study about generations—their needs and wants and the driving trends of each.
4. While I have the utmost respect for educators, I strongly believe that our education system needs updating on so many levels.
5. Today there are myriad ways for a student to learn and grow outside of the traditional classroom setting—whether via internships or classes on YouTube and many more modalities.
Connecting With Steve Robertson
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