THON is rapidly approaching, and with Family Carnival in just a few days, the big weekend is closer than ever. With that being said, we decided to profile each director from the THON 2016 Executive Committee to get a better understanding what exactly goes into leading the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Before Thanksgiving break, we talked to Communications Director, Logan Echard. In this week’s edition, our conversation continues with Family Relations Director, Blake Ament.
Blake Ament, Family Relations (FR)
Past THON Experience:
2013-2015 THON Chair for Men’s Club Lacrosse
2015 Family Relations Captain
THON 2014 Dancer
Name an interesting, weird, or quirky fact about you: I have an identical twin brother who also attends Penn State!
Onward State: What made you want to apply for Family Relations Director?
Blake Ament: I wanted to be able to give back to an organization that has meant so much to me during my time here at Penn State. I have been involved since my freshman year through Club Lacrosse, with last year being my first year on a committee. After seeing all the hard work that goes into planning the yearlong effort, I wanted to give as much as I could to make THON 2016 the best year possible.
OS: What are the responsibilities of Family Relations?
BA: The Family Relations Committee is responsible for facilitating all interaction between THON Volunteers and Four Diamonds families. Throughout the year, myself, along with my 23 Captains, will help to plan and execute programs such as the AdoptAFamily Program, the Penn Pal Program, Captains in Training, as well as many family events throughout the year and THON Weekend!
OS: What do you want to implement in your position this year that’s unique and differs from years past?
BA: This year, I really wanted to make sure that the Family Relations committee was a bridge between the THON community and families. It is our role to help to bring together the two most essential parts of THON together throughout the year!
OS: What do you think makes Family Relations so cool, fun, and/or important?
BA: Family Relations is so unique compared to every other committee in terms of the responsibilities that we have. The responsibilities of FR Captains are very behind the scenes and a lot of people don’t see the work that goes into planning THON Weekend for the families. FR also gets to plan and execute Family Hour during THON Weekend which, in my opinion, is the most impactful time of the weekend.
OS: What are the overall goals you wish to reach within your specific position and committee?
BA: One of my main overall goals is looking at THON in the long term so that Family Relations is in a really solidified place in 10 years. This year my committee specifically is working on implementing new incentives and ideas that allow family interaction between volunteers that normally would not get this face-to-face interaction.
OS: So Blake, why do you THON?
BA: I THON to create an escape for these families that are facing the toughest times of their lives. To be able to put a smile on a child and parents face every time they come to a THON event makes all the time and effort worth it.
OS: What is your favorite THON memory?
BA: My favorite THON memory was walking through the human tunnel into the Bryce Jordan Center in THON 2014. That day was my 21st birthday, and I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate than the biggest party at Penn State.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be and why?
BA: Indominus Rex. It’s a T-Rex on steroids!
Stay tuned for next week’s THON Director Thursday.