Campus News Editor
When you walk into Harry Rock’s office, you notice a busy desk consisting of two laptops, an award from 2011 for the Advisor of the Year, lots and lots of pictures, and the unforgettable red sweatshirt draped over the back of his chair.
“That sweatshirt has been on my chair for a few years now,” said Rock.
Every day after his workout, meetings, phone calls and classes are over, Rock knows there is one more thing left to do before he lets himself go home for the night.
“Every time I leave my office, I make sure that the YMCA logo of the sweatshirt is facing out,” commented Rock. “I face it outwards because as people walk by and notice the logo, it spreads the YMCA spirit and touches lives, even when I am out of the office.”
The YMCA and Harry Rock fit together like peanut butter and jelly, or two peas in a pod. Simply put, they are a perfect match.
Living the YMCA core values (honesty, caring, respect and responsibility) on a daily basis, Rock’s commitment to his job as the director of YMCA Relations at SC goes unmatched, as his schedule is backed up like the Mass Pike after a Red Sox game.
From meeting with students and YMCA professionals, to helping on-campus activities like the Y-Club and Leadership Summit, busy days are normal for Rock.
Friday, Oct. 25 was no exception, as the YMCA offices, – located in Judd Gymnasia – welcomed Johnson Premkumar from India. Premkumar, who works at a YMCA college in Chennai, India, was on campus this past weekend to experience the Homecoming Weekend events and connect with other YMCA professionals.
Connecting with global YMCA professionals is nothing new to Rock as he, and many YMCA students, continuously travel the globe to partake in YMCA events around the world.
This past summer, he and 11 Springfield College students travelled to Prague, Czech Republic, to attend a YMCA youth festival called YMCA Europe.
“Our program is to inspire youth to go forward,” said Rock, “creating a change that we wish to see by being discrete and in the background. It is not about being noticed or famous. It’s about the cause.”
It is this discrete leadership that helps drive Rock to keep motivating students to achieve their goals and set the bar high so they can be successful throughout their career, either through the Y or anywhere.
Springfield College is the latest stop for Rock on his YMCA career journey. Starting as CIT, or counselor in training at Camp Hazen, in Chester, Conn., Rock’s true passions were exposed.
“I was going to be a lifeguard,” said Rock, “but my mother suggested that I work at Camp Hazen. I fell in love with it.
“I have always enjoyed the outdoors and working with kids, and Camp Hazen gave me those two opportunities. I got paid for coming to camp and doing what I love.”
It is this passion and commitment that brought Rock from working two jobs, one as a math/science teacher and another as a summer camp director, to where he is today.
“You have to challenge yourself and move upwards instead of laterally,” stated Rock. “If you are going into a job and you feel totally secure and functional, then you are moving laterally.”
Challenges and new experiences have propelled Rock throughout his career. After working two jobs, he was offered a job to start a YMCA from scratch at the submarine base in Groton, his hometown.
From there, he moved to multiple YMCAs up and down the East Coast, eventually landing the job here at Springfield College in 2008, where he oversees the YMCA Hall of Fame (located on the Springfield College campus) and maintains relationships with YMCAs and alumni throughout the United States.
While Harry Rock’s work through the YMCA and Springfield College goes unmatched, it is his red sweatshirt that truly represents who he is, spreading spirit and touching the lives of everyone he meets.