For The Kiddos
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Health and Wellness

For The Kiddos

Why no summer or school year job is more rewarding than working with kids.

For The Kiddos
India Trummer

Summer was a time of varying interests. You had finished a tough year and all you wanted to do was relax. Lounging by the pool and late nights with friends was on your mind, but you also felt the need to make some cash. The local diner was hiring but nothing sounded worse than waiting tables. No one wants to waste his or her time at a dead end job, so why spend your time doing exactly that?

Feeling the need to find a more rewarding job this past summer is precisely the reason I chose to work with kids. I could not justify spending my precious summer months stocking shelves or making sandwiches, I needed something more. So when the opportunity to be a camp program leader came my way, I did not even hesitate. I figured it would be fun, relatively easy, and a good experience—little did I know it would turn into the most rewarding experience of my summer.

“If you are here because you just want to make a little extra money, then you are not going to get anything out of this except for a little extra cash, but if you are here to make a difference in the lives of the kids in the community then they will make a difference in yours.”

That’s what my boss said the first day of work orientation, at which point I had no idea the truth that her words would hold.

I started off the first day of work with no idea what to expect. First graders and four hours of my own lesson plans was all I knew. The prospect was daunting. The first day of class was easy; there were no troublemakers or talkers, just shy kids who were just as unsure as I was.

A few weeks later the atmosphere was completely different. The kids had all come out of their shells, and I had learned exactly what lessons and teaching styles worked with them. We became a well-oiled machine that worked perfectly together. Sure, there were a few troublemakers here and there, but the summer wouldn’t have been exciting without them and the crazy stories they gave me to share.

It was around that point in the summer when I remembered the words my boss had said. I had been watching these kids grow over the weeks with amazement, and that in itself was rewarding enough. I watched as kids who refused to do something the first week became the first to volunteer to do it and kids who never wanted to share told the longest stories during share circle. The rewarding part wasn’t so much that I was the one who led them on this journey, but that they had led themselves on it and allowed themselves to grow.

Their growth wasn’t the only amazing thing I noticed. I was shocked at their intelligence and insight into the world’s problems, as well as their ideas to fix them. They gave me hope for the future of this country and their ability to handle the challenges that would come their way. Of course there were days when they tested my patience, but their empathy and caring nature toward myself and their peers always turned my day around.

Spending this summer with first graders became more rewarding than I ever thought possible. They helped spark my curiosity and creativity and gave me hope for the inheritors of our nation. They made me appreciate all the little things and fight for all those big things that really matter. I would never wait tables or stock shelves when I can have an experience like that, and you shouldn’t either.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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