BOOST OST Participant Profile: Jim Ward, Community leader, musician and owner of Eloise
Area of OST Focus: OST experiences develop transferable skills
My mom did a lot to keep me busy throughout my youth. When I was four, she registered me in a preschool program at UTEP while she took classes to earn her master’s degree. That early experience being out of the house and interacting with other youth and adults molded me into the social person I am today and made me open to trying new things.
Growing up, I had a wide range of interests. In addition to being on the golf team, I excelled in my high school math and science classes and even looked into pursuing a career in engineering and the applied sciences. Nurturing that interest, I joined summer engineering camps at UTEP, where I was able to create cool projects like building a cardboard canoe that could really float and makeshift cars from scrap materials that could successfully make it down a hill.
As I got more into music, I saw similarities it shared with engineering and science. The technical and social skills that I learned at summer camp helped me when I started playing in bands. As a musician, I had to know how to work all my own gear – guitars, amplifiers, mixers, etc. – which requires a knowledge of science to make sure everything goes smoothly. And as in engineering camp, I had to collaborate together with my bandmates to make music and put together records.
The programs I participated in as a youth allowed me to interact with people who I wouldn’t normally meet and learn how to work with them to solve problems. They also taught me how to be welcoming to everyone and accept them for who they are, a philosophy that I still embrace today, and one that serves as a basis for how I run my businesses, collaborate with other artists on new music projects, and even meet new friends at the golf course.
“I believe the greatest skill you can learn is endurance. You need to learn to adapt, since not everything is going to go your way and you’re not always going to be the best. And you’re not going to learn endurance if you’re never in a position to be challenged. Youth programs nurture this by getting kids interested and involved in many activities, while broadening their social abilities.” - Jim Ward, musician and entrepreneur