By Ashlan Kelly
Former student-athlete Kyle Butcher is making Lynn’s name known on a global spectrum as he serves abroad as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Butcher is originally from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where he had resided his entire life prior to Lynn. His journey to South Florida began when he was awarded a collegiate baseball scholarship by head coach Rudy Garbalosa.
In 2013, Butcher graduated with a bachelor’s degree in administration and sports management. Shortly after in 2014, he attained his MBA at Lynn, specializing in international business.
“I chose to attend Lynn because of the family-like atmosphere within the athletic department and the opportunity to be part of the extremely diverse and innovative community,” said Butcher.
Following graduation, Butcher worked as an associate scout for Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays through their South Florida affiliation.
With this experience, Butcher added, “It was during my time as a scout that I realized how fortunate I had been to have the great experiences, education, role models, teachers, coaches and family that I had. I realized I could utilize all of those things in order to make a life of serving our country and the citizens of the world.”
After coming to this conclusion, Butcher ended up turning down a promotion with the Blue Jays to instead pursue an opportunity with Peace Corps. Between the time that he had finished the 2015 season with the Blue Jays and departed for Peace Corps service in September of 2016, Butcher also gained experience in marketing for Anheuser Busch-InBev.
“I realized that in our relentless pursuit of progress all over the world, we all have a place on the frontlines,” said Butcher. “I was able to set my priorities in life, and I realized that we can all do our parts. We can all make a difference — it doesn’t take a celebrity, politician or even a Peace Corps volunteer to do it.”
Currently, Butcher is the community and economic development volunteer in the United States Peace Corps, stationed in the Republic of Macedonia. There, he is developing sport diplomacy projects for various organizations abroad.
Butcher was placed in a small town in the northeast corner of Macedonia. He arrived in Macedonia in September of 2016 and will be there until December of 2018, as Peace Corps service is typically 27 months long.
Employed at the City Museum, he works to develop an audio-guided walking tour in six languages and also helps to prepare history and foreign language activities for 3,000 students and community members in town with special needs.
Additionally, Butcher works for a local non-government organization, through which he leads a “development through sports” initiative for the town’s athletes. Presently, the organization has 200 athletes.
“Utilizing sports-related programs has proven to be an extremely effective development tool here in Macedonia, as sports serve as a creative educational platform — one that is interesting and easy for young people to understand and experience development,” said Butcher.
The university is also in collaboration with the work that Butcher is doing abroad, as professor Chad Barr’s special topics in sport class works with Butcher, hoping to create sustainable platforms and opportunities for youth in Macedonia.
This is done particularly by having the students create a central website full of sport-specific drills, exercises, coaching and health-related materials so that local sport club coaches are prepared to continue developing their programs and leading athletic training after Butcher completes his service.
This collaboration also provides students with an opportunity for experiential learning and to work toward solving real problems around the world while in school.
Butcher also leads an English language leadership and development club for local teenagers and serves as a member of the volunteer-led Environment Working Group.
Butcher never expected to be in the position that he is in today but has no regrets whatsoever. For him, Peace Corps has been the greatest and most valuable experience of his life thus far, one he hopes to build upon in the future.