I have been writing a lot of posts about my future in the JET Program but before then I still have summer so I thought that I would write a post about my after-grad, pre-JET plans! If you’re interested or have a bit of free time, please continue to read on!
This summer I am returning for my third year as a leader for the children’s summer fun program at the local elementary school and city and county park. I was a program participant from the time I was in 1st grade and went every single summer since then. Once I was too old to be a participant then I became a teen junior leader. After my first year of college I was too old to be a teen volunteer so I became a staff member. I worked there the summer of 2015 and 2016 and then missed last year as I was still studying abroad in Japan. However, I am back this year for what should really be my final year. I am excited, yet nervous.
When I wrote this, the summer fun program had yet to begun but we had already started working at the park to prepare for the program. As a leader of group 1 which is the youngest group, I am in charge of supervising the 28 four to six year olds on field trips and excursions alongside the group 2 leader who also has 28 children for a total of around 56 kindergarteners and first graders. The other staff members have the same. We have a total of 10 groups with 175 children, and then around 40-50 teen junior leaders who volunteer to help the staff members run the activities. I am going to be the leader of Arts & Crafts again, which is the only group I was ever in even as a junior leader for volunteers.
Anyways, that’s just an idea of how the program works. I am excited to get to work with all of the children again. It is a really stressful job, I won’t lie about that, but it is also familiar and we get to work together with people we have been with for years and years. I think that this will be a perfect warm-up and primer for going to the JET Program to teach.
Honestly, after not working at the park for the summer of 2017, I was worried that in the two years that I was studying abroad and then finishing up for my senior year that I “lost” what it takes to be a leader at a children’s program and that I may have lost my love for working with children. Now, writing this 2 days after the program starting I will admit that it feels somewhat unfamiliar and I don’t quite feel like I have the hang of it yet, but I still do enjoy working with the kids even if it is not an easy job.
I look forward to getting more experience this summer and finding out my school placement in Japan!
Thank you for reading!