One-on-One with TAC Adult Advisor Jan Elsea

By Sravani Ravipati

YR students on Teen Advisory Council’s Marketing/Communications Committee (MARCOM) are speaking one-on-one with fellow students and adult volunteers to get to know them better, share their interests with the community and work on their interviewing skills. For this interview Sravani Ravipati talked with TAC adult advisor, board member and longtime YR supporter, Jan Elsea.

Sravani: What was your childhood like?
Jan: Growing up in Indianapolis, I grew up in the city. My public school was probably like four blocks from where I lived so I would walk to school. That school held grades 1-8, so I went there for a while. Then I went to high school, but I could walk to high school, which was probably a couple miles, so we would walk. I carried newspapers like the Indianapolis Star. I also worked in one of the very first fish houses. They had fish and chips, so I worked there growing up. My father was transferred when I was a senior in high school, so the last half of my senior year in high school I moved to Richmond, IN from Indianapolis and finished my high school there. It was a little traumatic, but that worked out really well because that’s where I met my wife. I had a good childhood. No complaints.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
First of all, study more while in school. Also, be more involved in the community than I was.

Jan listens during a morning TAC meeting, where he serves as an adult advisor.

I know you have three grandchildren in TAC. How do you think TAC has impacted their lives?

I think they knew all along that I’ve been involved with TAC, even before they got into high school. They’ve gone to some of the summer programs and I think that sort of motivated them. Plus, they didn’t have any choice, they were going. I think that what I have seen is, like all of you young people, you start out as freshman and by the time you’re seniors, you’re young adults. It helps you grow, it really does. That’s what I’ve seen, and I like helping with that in TAC.

What motivates you to wake up so early in the morning and come to TAC meetings?
I’m usually an early bird anyway. I’m not up at this time but I like being up in the morning It’s a good time to be up and read, drink coffee, and whatever. So, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s for the grandkids. They come over and stay at the house so we like having them.

Do you like to travel? If so, where was your favorite destination?
I do like to travel. My wife and I love to travel. We used to go to Gulf Shores, AL a lot. We have good friends that we would meet down at Gulf Shores. We had a lot of fun there. We have two daughters who live in Maine, so we like to go out to Maine to see them. That’s a pretty area. Probably one of the nicest places we’ve been to was San Francisco. When we were out there it was always in the seventies (degrees). I was also in Arizona for four years in the service, so I’ve been around.

If you were asked to be a speaker at one of our TAC meetings, what would you talk about?
I would probably talk about the impact TAC has made on me (certainly as a senior adult, I’ll put it that way), and what I’ve seen being around 200 young people that are really here every other week at six o’clock in the morning. Seeing them eager to go, get involved, engaged, and just seeing that leadership. I hope that by me being here would help them, like if there’s advice I can give, or needs that they have, then hopefully I’m there as a mentor.

Jan celebrates at YR’s annual Hall of Fame in the photobooth.

What’s your favorite aspect of supervising the Outreach committee?
I think a favorite thing is watching the co chairs grow as they start out in the first of the year. Most of them are a little hesitant, so seeing them grow and become leaders is nice. By the time that they’re seniors they’ve pretty well got this going. They know what they’re doing and they’re on their way. So, that’s what I like.

Sravani is a sophomore at Signature School and a member of the Teen Advisory Council’s MARCOM (Marketing/Communications) Committee. This is Sravani’s second year involved with YR.