Alexia is a two-time HIOBS alumna. She joined her first course right before her senior year of high school thanks to Clark Sports Center, one of our longest scholarship-serving partners. After completing an associate degree in business, Alexia wasn't sure she was on the right path or ready to jump into a bachelor's degree in the same field. So, she looked to Outward Bound. Alexia knew that doing a longer, more challenging course would help her unlock more within herself. She knew it could help prepare her for the big decisions she had ahead.
Alexia's second expedition was a semester course from Maine to the Bahamas when she was 20.
At the start, Alexia was carrying more than her weight for the trip, literally. Because the group was needing to carry both their own gear and the food for their trip, they were rotating double packing duties—meaning carrying one pack on their back and one on their front. But Alexia was volunteering every time to help lighten the load for others.
"I struggled with stepping back from tasks to allow other team members to step forward." When she sustained a minor foot injury, she recognized the importance of balance. "I had to take a step back to let my feet heal."
Her instructors helped her see how she was allowing others in the group to grow by stepping back.
"My group helped a lot when it came to meeting this challenge. I was afraid to tell them that I had to stop double-packing my pack." But when she did, they stepped up. "At the beginning of my course, I was not known to be an assertive person, so it was hard for me to be assertive at that moment and tell them what I needed. Especially because I was the kind of person who led by example, I would always just do the tasks and not say anything about it. Coming forward and having to tell [my teammates] what was going on was difficult. But as the course went on, I became more comfortable in my leadership position, especially when it came to being leader of the day. I was able to delegate people to tasks and, in a way, become more assertive when it came to things that I knew needed to be done."
"I know that I can take on the challenge. And I can, I can do well."
Alexia Lillian Massaroni
For Alexia, leading went from something she dreaded to something she enjoyed. Instead of fearing that she'd make a mistake, she learned that she was a great planner and was good at delegating tasks and roles to which she knew her teammates were well suited. She used her one-on-one communication skills to check in with her teammates, gain their trust and respect, and understand their own specific needs and abilities. When her leadership style worked even on the toughest of days—resupply days—she gained confidence and a sense of pride in her accomplishments.
And when she got back? She put this confidence to work in a new job AND a new degree program—excelling in both. In her job, she moved from an entry-level position in a retail store to lead sales associate in just two weeks. Within a year? She was stepping in as an assistant manager. Within a year and a half, she was managing a newly built store for the same company. And that wasn't all. Alexia now knew that the 2-year college track she was on would not be enough to hold her interest. She decided on a four-year program in sports management—a field that offers her the motivation and the breadth to learn, grow, and lead. She graduated just this past May.
What does the future hold for Alexia? More challenges, more decisions, and more opportunities to grow. And while she might at times be "kind of scared," she also knows she's ready.
What does Alexia carry with her from her OB experience?
“Compassion and hard work—these are the things I hold to be very important—the standards of Outward Bound.”
HIOBS has been partnering with Clark Sports Center to provide expeditionary experiences for students from upstate NY for more than 30 years. It is the primary mission of The Clark Sports Center to take an active role in the health, fitness, recreational and educational life of the Village of Cooperstown and its surrounding area.
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