Every Y Has Their Y Story

Every Y Has Their Y Story

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Back in August, I started working for the Y. Since then I have been told on several occasions that I needed to know my Y story because at some point I would be asked what my Y story is. “My Y Story: Whether you come to the Y to work, play or volunteer, whether you are 5 or 55, we want to know what the Y means to you.” I was also told, several times, that if my Y story was “just that you needed a paycheck, that will change” and “it won’t be that for long.” Well, they were right. While I came to the Y originally because I just needed a job, that is no longer the only reason.

I found my Y story in a very unexpected way. On my way back to work one afternoon I stopped to get coffee, nothing unusual there. Colorado has these little drive-thru shacks called Dutch Bros, which is better than Starbuck, and the people that work there are always upbeat and happy. They almost always ask you how you are and what you’re up to and stuff like that. So I pull up to the window, place my order, and then proceed to talk to the person who had taken my order.

As always, I was asked what I was up to for the rest of the day and, as always, I responded with “Headed back to work.” Every now and then I get asked where I work, today was one of those days. I told her that I’m Before and After School Care Site Director. Normally the response I get is something along the lines of “Oh cool” and then they hand me my coffee. Today was not a normal day. The girl inside the shack responded with “Oh, like for the Y?” Shocked, I told her yes. She then told me that when she was younger she would attend the Y Before and After School care and that she had loved it. She then handed me my coffee and told me to have a good day. I left feeling good that I work for something that obviously had a positive impact on someone and feeling that maybe I could do that for my kids.

I got to work, it was a Thursday which meant that I had a group of students that are rowdier than groups I have during the rest of the week. Part of the issue is that I have this one bunch of kids that really like to push not only my buttons but my Group Leader’s buttons as well. As I was sitting there signing in all the kids who were there one of the button pushers walked up to me and said, “My parents think that you guys are so much better than the other programs we went to.” Not really paying too much attention to this I just said “That’s nice. Don’t forget to wash your hands for snack.” What he said next shocked me. “I think you guys are much better too. The other people were mean and you guys are fun. We don’t get in trouble for no reason here.” And then he got in line to wash his hands. When I say that this shocked me, I’m not joking. Here is this kid who likes to cause trouble and push our buttons and complains about the activities we do telling me that he likes it here.

Now you may be wondering, “OK, so what does this have to do with your Y story?” Well, this is my Y story. I Y because of kids like the girl working at the coffee shack and the kid who pushes my button. I Y because it means I get to be that positive impact in someone’s life. I Y because while it is a job and I get a paycheck, I get to make a difference in someone’s life. What started as a job and a paycheck turned into so much more.

Cover Image Credit: Blair Gruendl

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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4 Insightful Quotes From 'The Alchemist' That Will Resonate With People Who Want To Follow Their Dreams

Paulo Coelho's famed coming-of-age novel continues to inspire readers today with following their dreams.

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In "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, a young boy named Santiago embarks on a life-changing journey to find a hidden treasure in the pyramids of Egypt and learns the importance of following one's destiny along the way. Since its release in the 1990s, "The Alchemist" has captivated people all over the world, including TV personality Oprah Winfrey and actor Will Smith.

With its powerful messages of love and gratitude, here are some of the most insightful quotes from the novel that will resonate with those who want to find and pursue their purpose in life.

1. “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Dawn, seaside and sea HD

On his journey, Santiago learns that love exists as a universal language in the world. When people follow their dreams and passions, they are driven by the power of love. With this power, one can guide themselves on the path to finding their own treasure and accomplishing their goals. Actively shaping your destiny through love can also positively improve how you perceive everything around you.

2. “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

Sunset Sunrise Sun

Too often people live their days accustomed to routine and consistency. When you begin treating each day as a new day full of opportunities and find time to appreciate the good things, you start seeing the beauty of life. This importance of practicing gratitude serves as a reminder to the world that life is fleeting, and we must strive to always make the best and see the best of our situations.

3. “And, when you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

Lake By The Mountains

Throughout their lives, people will make mistakes and have regrets, and we will often spend days wondering what we could've done differently. We forget that we can't change the past and that the only thing that matters is how we move forward in the present day. So let go of past mistakes and regrets, and focus on how you can improve the present.

4. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

Mountains Dirt Road Hill

In the novel, Santiago hears a story of a man who wanted to learn the secret of happiness from a wise king. The king told the man to walk around his palace holding a spoon full of oil and making sure not to spill it. After successfully doing so, he returns to the king and he asks if the man had seen all the beauty of his castle, which he ignored in his quest to keep the oil on the spoon. When following our dreams, we must not lose sight of appreciating all the wonders of life along the way; after all, it's not about the destination, but the journey.

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