"My favorite part of the BOTL program was, I think, the group spirit and feeling that developed over the 10 weeks of the program. Minneapolis was (and is) a wonderful city, one to which I am sure I will someday return. But it will be the friendships we all forged with each other, with our jobs and bosses, and with the incredibly open and welcoming alumni that I will remember forever. The human component of the program, the desire of local alumni to share so much with our group, to get to know us, and to expose us to the best of Minnesota, was unbelievably well developed, well-intended and well-executed. For ten weeks I was around a group of people to whom I was excited to return after a day of work and with whom I was ready and eager to explore a new part of the country and a new summer of our lives."
“The activities arranged by the alumni made the city much more welcoming. We spent weekends driving tractors on
farms, boating around lakes, and most memorably, getting caught in a thunderstorm while canoeing on the
St. Croix River
. I am especially grateful for Bulldogs on the Lakes towards the end of the program, when I had a severe allergic reaction that included multiple trips to the emergency room. When it became clear that I was allergic to something in the house where all the interns stayed, the program coordinator found me a new place to sleep with just a few hours notice, drove me to clinics, and arranged to ship my extra boxes to
when I left early to go home and recover. I’m not sure what I would have done without the help. I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in Bulldogs Across America, both for the experience and for the people who helped me when I needed it. I would love to participate in the program in the future, and I will definitely recommend it to all my friends at Yale."
"From my job, I learned to be an activist and to take initiatives. I learned what to look for in a job and what it means to work together and to move our organizations forward. From the alumni/mentors, we had ice cream and we talked about marriage and family, and it has opened my eyes and has put my life thoughts in priority and perspective. I have learned so many things. A lot of independence from biking everywhere and if I had the choice, I would do it again."
"I leaned a lot about social responsibility. Not only through my job, but from the conversations I’ve had with alumni and their example, I have realized how necessary it is to give back. I have a duty, as a Yalie, to use the resources I will have to better the world. From my internship event (which I organized) – Green Community Service Stars Career Day – a career day for at-risk youth to learn about the green movement, the United Way, exercise with Mr. Bancroft, and my conversations with Bill and Malcolm, I realized that my social responsibility is to help those who cannot help themselves. Thanks for everything!"
"I feel really fortunate to have been included in the program, especially as a part-time intern. I would not have been able to participate if Bill and others had not been so flexible with my scheduling conflicts. I thank everyone involved in the program for this. It was awesome to be able to be part of a Yale community while also spending time at home with my family. In addition, I learned so much about the non-profit world and the poor community through my job. Thanks so much for this opportunity!"
"I enjoyed most of the events this summer. I was born in the Twin Cities and it was great to come back. I learned a lot about non-profits through my job. I don’t think I’ve been to as many barbeques in my life as I have this summer. It has been eye-opening to go to lunches at law firms and medical (Medtronic) headquarters as well. I am thankful to BOTL for providing us interns with so many resources and opportunities!"
"Haiku for Danebo:
Erik hid the pans
Danish Days unpaid labor
My plastic box smells"
"Thank you so much. This is my very first time in the Midwest. I have never ventured out of New England before, so this was a life-changing experience. Not only have I discovered who I am as a young adult, I have made friends along the way. Having seen the world through the eyes of non-profit organizations, I now have a deeper understanding of the need for the goodwill of ordinary citizens and the reliance on empathy from all members of local communities. I will never again turn down an offer to take a look at a piece of literature, or to sign up for more info on a campaign, because I learned that, at least for me, a person who stops to sign up for a volunteering opportunity or a phone-banking shift makes my whole day worth while, and I am grateful to anyone who cares."
"I feel really luck that I was able to be part of BOTL. I loved meeting the alumni in the area as well as forming new friendships with Yalies I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Working with MicroGrants has changed my perspective on poverty and working with the poor. I’m glad that I was able to have both a fun summer and an enriching experience."
"I feel like I became an adult this summer. I know that’s probably wishful thinking, but I feel that I’ve learned an immense amount both about the non-profit world and future careers and also about myself- how I can function in a work environment, how I can take advantage of the opportunities presented by a city. Minneapolis has also set the standards really high for any city I live in in the future – I don’t know how I’ll live without the Midtown Greenway or the Mississippi. Mostly I’ve loved the atmosphere here – the people hanging out at the free concerts and movies in the parks at night, the crowd at the Pride festival. The highlights?
- Seeing the Sandlot at Morris Park while eating a bag of popcorn served to me by a 9 year old boy, then biking home with Monica on W. River Pkwy.
- Leaving my bike on the bus… and getting it back 2 hours later.
- Learning to cook cinnamon bread with my grandma, and seeing the city where
she grew up.
- Eating fry bread and listening to the sacred drums at the White Earth Pow Wow
I hope I’ll be back!"
I hope I’ll be back!"
"Bulldogs was a great way for me to test out being independent while at the same time enjoying a number of planned events and connecting with alumni. I can now say that Minneapolis has begun to feel like another home. Thank you Wes, Bill, Malcolm, and Rich especially for making the experience so welcoming. As for work, I definitely got my thrill for the summer when the research Geoff and I did for our non-profit shaped our national office’s presidential endorsement. Now that’s making a difference. All in all, a great summer. See you next year (hopefully)!"
"Unfortunately I’ve only spent 6 weeks here so far – but I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Minneapolis. It was great talking with the Alums, Bill, Wes, Malcolm about careers and life in general. It’s also great to know that there exists a liveable city way out here in Minnesota. Thanks so much for including me in all the BOTL events."
"I loved living with Yalies, meeting Alums, the research I did at work, canoeing, being able to walk/bike, the YWCA, Danebo (except the internet here) all the BBQ’s, the ice cream Bill brought, going to Afton, the Mall of America, not the lack of cable. Thanks! I had such a good time and love Minneapolis! I would consider living here!"
"Being a BOTLer means for me the chance to prepare for life after Yale! I learned how to cook, be responsible in commuting to work on time, deal with nasty car repair people, deal with insurance agents, drive in a city with many one-way streets, navigate highways and be an adult on many more levels than ever before. But what’s been most important to me is the level of personal connection I’ve been able to create with my fellow BOTLers and the fact that we’ll all see each other again at school makes it only better. While swimming across the St. Croix river, Monica had some trouble battling the undercurrent and I immediately swam toward her so she could hold onto me. A few minutes later, Sarah and Tony came in a kayak/canoe to help Monica into it, and everyone was safe! I realized at that moment that we truly do look out for each other and I will continue to do so."
"Bulldogs on the Lakes has been a unique, thoughtful experience for me and has allowed me to experience a new city, and several new activities all in one summer. Among the many incredible things I did this summer through this program, my job, the St. Croix, river canoeing trip, and the orchestra shows stood out to me the most. My job gave me a special, first-time experience that I will likely take with me the rest of my life: that having a full-time job in the realm of organization and public housing in the non-profit sector. Having this job showed me the dedication and passion community work involves and it gave me a great chance to get to know the people who do this selfless work. It was a humbling and informative summer for me, and I was thrilled to see both how Minneapolis is as a city, which is something I will definitely remember after I graduate as I start my career. In addition, an experience that was truly indicative of the wonderful time I had in Minnesota was the St. Croix River canoe trip. It was my first time canoeing or swimming in a river and seeing the gorgeous Minnesota landscape and the sheer beauty of its forests, hills, rivers and lakes was very moving to me and it really showed me just how environmentally-conscious a state Minnesota is. Finally, another thing about the BOTL experience that stuck out in my mind was the abundance of the Minneapolis cultural scene. Before the two orchestra shows we saw, I was not a huge fan of classical music. However, after seeing those shows and seeing just how much talent and effort it takes, I can honestly say that I now thoroughly enjoy those shows and have already started looking for an orchestra show back home. So, though there were many things about my experience in Bulldogs on the Lakes that stood out, those things were by far the biggest three that I will take with me and that have had a major impact on me.
P.S.: Thank you all for everything that you all did to make this summer a great, truly memorable experience for us. The speakers, shows, games, events, as well as the bikes, food, mentors for the summer, gym membership, and great accommodations, to name a few, along with all of you help and support there put the time in Minnesota simply incredible and unforgettable. So thank you all again for everything and I hope that we all stay in touch."
"BOTL was an excellent program. Essentially all we had to worry about was our job and finding favorite local spots. I wish more students could come learn about the Twin Cities and have such an easy living and rewarding experience."