The start of my co-op here at Sport in Society has me at the Hyde Park YMCA. I am working directly with another co-op, Demetrius Biggs. Neither Demetrius nor myself were significantly knowledgeable about the area, so in our first week here we sought out to examine Hyde Park. What is the community like? Who are the members? We wanted to better understand the area and people we will be working with for the next 5 ½ months.
A quick walk through Clearly Square, where the YMCA is located, gave us a snapshot of what Hyde Park is made of. What we saw was encouraging. A local pizza shop employee spoke highly of the community and the neighboring YMCA. She knew YMCA staff members by name and went on to explain that she feels safe walking to and from work. Beyond the pizza shop Demetrius and I observed a diverse collection of local businesses, along with a few chain stores, and members of the community walking around. There did exist a couple empty storefronts, but we came to the conclusion that this neighborhood was on the upswing.
Inside the YMCA I was eager to know more about the teen members. During the first couple of days at Hyde Park the teens were shy and hesitant to open up to us. I guess I was also shy towards them as well. After all, the Teen Center or “The Zone” is a special place for teens and we were the newcomers. Eventually, Demetrius and I discovered common interests with the kids and communication really opened up. Talking about sports, music and pop culture served as a sort of icebreaker. Once we could get a solid conversation going it was easy to get to know the individual personalities of the kids.
I’m looking forward to talking and working out with the teens throughout the remainder of my co-op. Each day I learn something new about them and where they come from. Also, I think they are genuinely interested my role at the Hyde Park YMCA along with getting to know me, too. For tomorrow, a group of girls have expressed interest in doing a track related workout. I’m excited to give them a glimpse of what I practice everyday and learn from the girls what they’d like to get out of their YMCA experience.
Posted by Courtney Mortimer
This past week was our first time looking at YMCA programming to observe how the Y runs. I spent my first week at the Wang YMCA, where I learned a lot of valuable information about how YMCAs bring in the public to participate in programs, whether it be youth, young adult or elder related. During the week, Liz and I observed and partially participated in the camp program at the Y, spending our first day with 7-8 year olds, second with 9-10 year old, third with 11-12 year olds and lastly our fourth day we spent with preschool kids.
Having already worked in the aquatics department of my town’s YMCA, I knew a lot about YMCA programming, however, I had never observed the breadth of programming across all age groups, so it was interesting for me to see it in action. As a coop student at Sport in Society it will be exciting over the next six months as we learn how not-for-profit organizations, like the Y, create a structure that can build capacity and sustainability, and that can be used for the long haul.
Posted by Tom Demers
As the two weeks of training come to a close I am still left with many questions. Being a BPS co-op in a field designed for the YMCA co-op has been a challenging but informative process. At first I had little knowledge of what I was at Sport in Society to do, or even what they did as an organization. I started to learn what the YMCA co-op needed to do and started to embrace their position as if it were my own. I find the Dodge motto “Grab life by the horns” lead me through this training. I decided to embrace what we were doing, and train as if the YMCA would be my placement for my 6 months at Sport in Society.
This initial period seemed tiresome at times but was helpful to open my eyes to a unfamiliar world of non-profits. BPS, being a huge struggling urban district, holds many problems of it’s own. Aristotle once said, “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” Many problems that the YMCA faces are common within those of BPS. Hopefully with what we learned, and Sport in Society’s support, we can make a positive change within BPS’ organization. Education of the logic model and organizational learning will be important to recognizing some of the goals that BPS should strive for, and how we as a team can meet them.
Posted by Brett Fink