10 Questions: Bryan Gastelum-Plata, Boys & Girls Club legend


Gastelum-Plata after winning a wrestling bout last year.

Bryan Gastelum-Plata, senior, was recently awarded a $5000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club to help further his education. Anyone who knows Gastelum-Plata can attest that he is the most deserving teen for this award.

At what age did you start going to the Boys & Girls Club, and why did you start?

I started going at the age of six, because my siblings and I went to divorce therapy. I didn’t have a dad growing up, and at divorce therapy, they suggested for us to go to the Boys & Girls Club. That’s when it all started.

What kind of significance did it have with you as a child?

They gave me a second home, they gave me food, they gave me dinner every night, they gave my family boxes of food as well for dinner on the weekends, and they also gave me bags of clothes to wear.

How often did you go to the Boys & Girls Club as a child?

I went there every day from four until 7:30 (when it closed).

How often do you go there now?

I volunteer there everyday after school when I can–when I don’t have sports.

Why do you think kids and teens should go to the Boys & Girls Club?

Because it gives them a positive place, and it’s a fun place to go to. For me, it gets rid of school and all the sports and all the stress I get, and I can just be the cool kid I am.

What was the process you went through for the scholarship?

You just had to be a teen and there was an in-house competition with the teenagers at the Boys & Girls Club, and I won the teenager one, and then they had me go in for the Oregon one, and I won! For the selection process, you get interviewed and you give a three-minute speech.

Where will you be using our scholarship?

I’m going to Chemeketa Community College next year, and I will be using it for college tuition so that I can become a firefighter.

How did you find out that you were awarded the scholarship?

I didn’t know until we were onstage and they were giving the scholarships out awards-show style.

Have you had a specific mentor or met any people at the Boys & Girls club that have left a lasting impression on you (in a positive way)?

There’s a woman named Ashley Campbell who’s been there for me since I was six years old. She was on the staff there, but now she’s a director at the Wattles Boys & Girls Club, where I go. She’s been there for me, she helps my family…she’s the person I go to for advice when I’m feeling down, or when I just want to have a conversation with someone. She’s like a second mom to me.

Throughout the years, what has been your favorite Boys & Girls Club memory?

Meeting kids there and building relationships with people, also becoming a Keystone [teen program] member because it helped me get out in my community. And there are lots of fun field trips we get to go on.