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It's fun to work at the YMCA!

23 February 2013 - by YMCA International
I have just finished my training as an international intern and new YMCA GTA staff member, and I have to say, it was quite the experience.  By that, I mean that it LITERALLY MADE MY DREAMS COME TRUE!

Allow me to explain:  I have spent every summer since the age of 13 at YMCA John Island Camp, and, like most Y camps, we have a great tradition of presenting a birthday cake and singing happy birthday to those lucky campers whose special day falls during the summer.  As a February baby, I never got to have this experience … until now!  YMCA GTA new staff orientation happens at Camp Cedar Glen, a beautiful site only about an hour from downtown Toronto.  You guessed it, I finally got the camp birthday I have been waiting for!

Of course, we did more at Cedar Glen than just celebrate my birthday … we also climbed impossibly high rope ladders, wandered blindfolded through mazes, and played really intense cardio Pictionary.  The new staff spanned all departments, from Child Care to Health and Fitness to the Contact Centre.  Together, we learned what it means to be an employee of the YMCA of Toronto, which is one of the most supportive, progressive, inspirational organizations I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  I am moved by how entrenched the Y core values are in everything that we do here - caring, respect, honesty, responsibility, health, and inclusiveness.  I am eager to apply these values to all the work I do, both in Ghana and when I'm back in Canada.

It is also true that the training for IYIP interns spanned more than those two magical days at Cedar Glen, and I soaked up every minute of it.  My three wonderful colleagues and I learned many strategies for working interculturally and living in new places.  We also gained several new skills, including (and perhaps most important for this beginner-blogger) how to use social media.  Fun Fact: did you know that you do, in fact, need to be connected to the internet to use Twitter and it is not just a fancy text message?  Neither did I!  Look at all the useful things I am learning!

Funny plays on over-cited song lyrics aside, I am so thankful to have this opportunity to work abroad with the YMCA, and I feel like I have already met so many wonderful people in doing so.  I have been trained so effectively, and I can only hope that my packing is half as thorough.  Chances are slim, though, because in less than two days I will be going, going, Ghana!


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