Getting an introduction to backpacking and developing a love for the outdoors is Kyle Kacerek’s most positive memory of PVCC. As a member of the PVCC Emerging Leaders program, Kyle experienced his first backpacking trip. After this introduction to outdoor recreation, Leave No Trace principles, and the ins and outs of backpacking and back country living Kyle was “hooked.” His sophomore year Kyle served as a facilitator for the Emerging Leader program.
As Kyle reflects on his PVCC experience, three “influencers” readily come to mind: Heather Kruse, Mike Ho, and John Douglass. They were the staff facilitators in the PVCC Emerging Leaders program. “Mike Ho encouraged me the whole time I was in the program, and was a great mentor and positive influence on my growth as a leader while I was at PVCC.” The mentorship Heather and John provided enabled Kyle to help lead a weekend backpacking trip in Sedona for the Emerging Leaders program the spring of his sophomore year and a week-long backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that summer. Kyle’s “newfound passion for the outdoors” coupled with the skills he developed while leading backpacking trips prepared him to secure employment with the University of Arizona (U of A) Outdoor Adventure Program while he worked toward his Bachelor’s degree.
Since graduating from the U of A, Kyle has volunteered for the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors Program for nine years. This program takes underserved youth of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds on outdoor trips that otherwise would not have the opportunity. Kyle served as chairman of this program for four years. He continues to organize outdoor adventures with friends and family for recreation. “All of this can be traced back to PVCC and my involvement with the Emerging Leaders Program and the mentorship of Mike, Heather and John who ignited my passion for the outdoors.”
Kyle attributes the “smaller class sizes, passionate teachers and extracurricular programs” to making PVCC a great educational option. “You get the same if not a better education at a fraction of the cost of a university. The quality of the courses is just simply top notch,” Kyle states. “I am 100 percent satisfied with my two-year experience at PVCC and am so glad I chose to go there and not directly to a University.”
Currently, Kyle owns and operates Prest, a coffee drive thru in Tucson, AZ. He started this business six years ago, and it’s growing each year. “I have two great employees under my leadership and consider myself and my business a part of the fabric of the Tucson community,” Kyle says. He credits his experience in the Honors and Emerging Leaders programs with helping to shape him into the leader he has become.