As the warmer weather makes its comeback and high school students are thinking about their summer plans, the Saanich Youth Internship Program may come to mind.
Former Saanich youth intern Tyler Smith, 18, shared his story with me about how the Saanich Youth Internship impacted his summer experience, and why it was one of his favourites.
“I did the program because I wanted something to do over the summer and it sounded like a fun way to get my foot in the door so to speak; it was a step in building my confidence [as a leader],” said Smith, one of 24 youth interns who were on-site day camp leaders in training. “As the summer went on, I knew I wanted to apply for a full-time position. It really built my confidence to have those kids look up to me.”
The program is geared towards youth 16 to 18 years old who wish to build employment readiness skills, and includes a one-month placement at a Saanich Neighbourhood Park Program location or a Saanich recreation centre summer camp program. Not only do participants gain leadership qualities and become positive role models for younger kids, but those who finish it also receive a $500 honorarium.
The internship supports youth by helping them gain leadership skills and practical work experience through a mentorship with Saanich parks and recreation staff.
Smith also spoke about his favourite part of the internship: collaborating with fellow youth interns to co-ordinate the annual end-of-summer carnival. Each year, campers from various Saanich parks and rec programs celebrate the end of a great summer.
His fondest memories of the carnival include painting the ‘Art Hut’ with campers and hosting a Dr. Spongeball game that ended with lots of water-soaked T-shirts.
“It was a culmination of all our [Saanich youth interns’] hard work, a way to finish off the summer with a bang and have lots of fun,” said Smith.
The past three years Smith has worked at Saanich parks and recreation as a Saanich coyote, Saanich intern, and summer camp counsellor. He currently attends Mount Douglas secondary, and recommends the program to youth interested in a leadership role while working with children.
If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved with the Saanich Youth Internship Program, email Loryn Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org with a cover letter and resume.
Visit www.saanich.ca/parkrec/community/youth/leadership.html or call Loryn at 250-475-7111 for more information.
Shae-Linn Davies is a Saanich News contributor and Grade 10 student in Reynolds secondary’s flexible studies program.