My Y journey began as a camper in the teen program at Judson. My first summer forever changed my life.
I met people who became my life-long friends, and I fell in love with camp. I knew I just had to be the cool counselor one day. After I graduated high school I continued my Y journey at Judson Community Center, working as a camp counselor. That first summer as a staff was a ball of emotions for me.
I had always known Mr. Corey (former Operations Director at Judson Community Center - now in his current role as Operations Director at the Caine Halter Family YMCA) as an authority figure, but I was scared to death to work for him. Soon after I started, all my apprehensions begin to flow right out of the window. Mr. Corey was the best leader that I could’ve had. He was patient, understanding, and he never made me feel ashamed while correcting me. He gave me the space I needed to grow as a counselor and as a person. He has always encouraged me to challenge myself. I would get so frustrated when I couldn’t do things right and made mistakes. Mr. Corey always calmly said, “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it.”
I took notes, built better character, and changed my attitude for the better. My outlook on the impact I was making changed as well.
Mr. Corey would ask every so often, “What’s next?” I always stumbled on my words because I was scared to pursue a goal higher than where I was. I loved my job, but I never knew what to say.
He started teaching me all of the ins-and-outs of the program, and he gave me leadership roles. Those leadership roles tested me, but I always knew that Mr. Corey had my back, so I couldn’t let him down. I worked so hard. Then I got to a point where I felt like I was hitting a wall. I felt like I had no more to give. That fear fell all over me again.
I took a few months off for maternity leave, it was a breath of fresh air, but when I returned I still kept hitting that wall. Mr. Corey kept pushing me, teaching every behind-the-scenes act that had to be done to make camp/afterschool run. I didn’t know that I would be using those skills on my own so soon.
When Mr. Corey told us that he was leaving for another job opportunity, so many thoughts ran though my head. Who could do a better job? Who’s going to come in smiling every day - giving off all of those positive vibes - being patient, and who’s going to love those kids like he does? Will the parents freak out? WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
I was so worried about someone else coming in that I neglected the facts. I love the program and the kids, and I had a passion for what I was doing. Mr. Corey had taught me everything that I needed to know. This was my chance to break through that wall that I was running into. Something still screamed fear.
I began to fight with negative thoughts about not being good enough. I had no idea that I would apply for the position. I pushed those negative thoughts to the back and applied anyway. The worse response that I could get was no. Fortunately, I received a yes. I thank Mr. Corey for always pushing me toward the challenge.
Youth & Family Director
YMCA Judson Community Center