Summer My Way mentors learn leadership skills
Published 9:46 am Thursday, July 16, 2015
Most people are not born with the gift of being a good leader.
Just like anything else, it takes practice.
Niles seventh-grader Kayleah Temple knows this. That is why she signed up to be a mentor for the kindergarten through fifth grade students enrolled in the 2015 Summer My Way Camp at Ballard Elementary School.
“I don’t think I am a natural leader, so I wanted to get some leadership experience,” Temple said. “I want to make an impact on the community and in children’s lives.
“I’ve found that the children think of you more than just a friend. They look up to you and know they can count on you.”
Temple is one of approximately 40 sixth through ninth-graders from the greater Niles area acting as mentors in the six-week long summer camp, which began July 6.
Ariel Zordell, a Berrien Springs educator who leads the mentorship program, said mentors are like “mini teachers.” They hold many responsibilities ranging from taking attendance to assisting in teaching daily lessons to providing a positive influence for the approximately 330 young campers.
“It is a really great way for these kids to get involved in the community and I think it will make a big impact on their lives,” she said. “You can see the relationships they are already building with the campers. It is really interesting to see.”
A mentor’s day begins early with a planning session at around 8:30 a.m. They set goals and review procedures before joining adult teachers who are assigned to a group of about 30 campers.
With approximately 40 teachers for 330 campers, Zordell said mentors are necessary to make the program run smoothly.
“Without the mentors, teachers wouldn’t be able to do what they need to do,” she said.
Eighth-grader Ian Snyder said he signed up to be a mentor because he wants to be a teacher someday. He also wants to learn how to be a better role model for his young nephews.
“Kids copy what you do, so you have to know what you can and can’t do around them,” he said.
Niles freshman Taylor Haboush returned for a second year of mentoring after participating in the inaugural Summer My Way Camp last year.
“You need leadership experience wherever you go and for whatever you end up doing,” she said. “If there aren’t any leaders, it would be a chaotic mess.”
For more information about Summer My Way and the mentorship program, contact the YMCA at (269) 683-1552 or online at nb-ymca.org.