This summer I was blessed with what I see as one of the best, most self-rewarding jobs. I worked as a YMCA Day Camp Counselor to students ranging from preschool to middle school age. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I played the "teacher" role for these students. Little did they know, they had been teaching me all along.

1. Your every action impacts someone in some way.

Personally, I thought of many of my teachers as role models in my life; I never thought, though, that every other student viewed them as I did. But, children do look up to their teachers – whether they want to admit it or not. There are many kids who just need someone there; someone to support them, someone to care, someone to encourage them, someone to discipline them, someone to understand, talk and listen to them. Taking this job, I knew I would be influencing these kids in whatever way I chose, but I never really realized how important a positive influence is in their lives.

My attitude at work reflected how the kids would act that day; just as your attitude is noticed and responded to by those around you, every day, whether you notice it or not. A smile can turn someone's mood into a good one. A rude comment can plummet someone's self-worth. This is something I wish more of us would take into consideration.

2. Life isn't fair.

Not a single day passed without a kid whining, "that's not fair." Well, like we were told as kids, (and as they are still told today) LIFE IS NOT FAIR. Not everything you get is what your neighbor will get and vice-versa. You may not have as good of luck as the next person. But, that is just how it is. Not everything is going to be handed to you. Not everything is going to be dealt out equally. Life just isn't fair, and it never will be. The kids' daily reminders, left this phrase implanted in my mind.

3. Feeling sorry for yourself will do nothing for you.

Having a bad attitude, pouting, throwing a fit and crying are not good ways to solve any problem. A good attitude is a good start when you are in a not-so-good situation.

4. Someone has it worse than you.

Referring to the previous point, you should never waste your time feeling sorry for yourself. You may have had the worst day, week, year or life, in your own eyes; but I guarantee you that there is someone out there who has it WAY worse than you. We all need to take more time to appreciate all we have, even if we do not think it is much.

5. It's all about the little things -- enjoy them.

I have had those days when I feel like nothing is going right. On these days, I can count on my students to make me smile with the simplest actions. A kid breakdancing. Someone telling a stupid joke that makes the entire group burst into laughter. A high five after finally passing their swim test. A few kids joining in on the song I was singing to myself. All the goodbye hugs on the last day.

I won't lie and say that my job is all fun and games, although all day we do have fun and we do play games. There have been more days than not, that I will go home just to go to bed, then wake up and do it all again. But, my job has left me with a lot of laughs and memories with wonderful kids, that I already miss. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of these kids' lives this summer. I do hope and believe I have left them with a lasting impression, as they have unknowingly done for me.


XO and best wishes,

Ashley Rose Corbin