Katie DeGross
Parkview Unit Director
Short Bio:  I have been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township for almost one year. Prior to becoming involved with the movement, I was both a teacher and a special education paraprofessional with several different school districts. I have been involved in many different facets of youth development such as traditional teaching, nannying, and working at a YMCA spanning over 10 years. I have a Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in Education with an emphasis in Health Education and a minor in Public and Community Health, my Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Exercise Physiology and Wellness and Fitness Management and I have been an Illinois-state certified teacher since 2008. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, my husband Garrett, and our dog Mason. I enjoy camping, traveling, shopping, going to local festivals, cooking, and decorating our new house!
What is your favorite thing about working with BGCDT?  Of course I love working with the kids and watching them grow, but I really enjoy training the part-time staff. It’s great to see how they grow as well. I had a lot of new staff this year and they became so creative throughout the year. Whether it was a new innovative gym game or cute arts & crafts project, they got really creative in planning and thinking on their feet. I am really proud of my Parkview staff!
What is your favorite memory or moment with the Club over the years?  This was definitely a memorable year, but my favorite memory was when my staff had all 140 of the Parkview club kids sing me “Happy Birthday”. It really was a special moment for me!
How did you get started with BGCDT?  May 2013, I was just about to graduate with my Master’s Degree from Western Illinois University. I was a graduate assistant at the Campus Recreation Center and my supervisor set up a presentation by a previous graduate. That graduate was none other than Curt McReynolds. After the presentation, we exchanged business cards and almost a year later I was perusing job postings and came across the Unit Director position. I dropped everything I was doing and applied right away.
If you had to pick one program, activity or event that you enjoy the most at Club, what would it be?  I have a lot of favorite programs, but there is a tie for first place. First, I would have to say the Track & Field Meet because it was amazing to see how much effort the kids put into preparation. Our Parkview team practiced for weeks before the big meet and it was great to see our kids medal during the meet! I also love teaching SMART Girls. Before starting at the Boys and Girls Clubs, I taught health education so this is a nice blend of my traditional teaching background and youth development while being a positive role model to the youth in the community.
What is your guilty pleasure?  My guilty pleasure would have to be staying in bed and watching Netflix all day. I am currently watching Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Friday Night Lights and Bones.
What is your favorite TV show and favorite movie?  My favorite TV show would be a tie between Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.  I love the action and that it’s set in the best city ever! My favorite movie is Dirty Dancing. It used to come on TV on Saturdays so my mom and I would curl up on the couch and watch it every time. I can recite most, if not all, of the lines and songs!
Who has had the most influence on your work career?  There have been a lot of influences in my work career, both bosses and professors, but if I had to pick just one, I would pick one of my first bosses that I ever had. She is such an amazing women. We worked a very hectic job at a daycare and she had a lot going on in her personal life. She knew how to balance her personal life (being a mom to a child with special needs) and her professional life (overseeing 18 different women and 100+ members) every day. I might not have known it then, but she helped shape how I balance both aspects in my life.
What is number one on your bucket list?  I have never really had a traditional bucket list. If anything, I want to make a difference in the world, a real impact that helps a large area. I have been involved with many charities over the years and I would just love to see my involvement grow to make a bigger impact.

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