This summer, 15 students from West Springfield and Agawam High Schools are participating in our In-Club Work-Based Learner program. They arrived at the Club at the beginning of last week, excited and ready to learn! Through this educational program, these students are receiving specialized and hands-on training in early childhood education, peer mentorship, workforce readiness, and more with the mentorship of our Club Experience Director and Safety Coordinator, Marissa Friedman. In addition to gaining valuable work experience and role models, participants are receiving important training in areas such as youth worker rights, emotional safety, behavioral expectations, recognizing and reporting abuse, and internet safety.

Ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old, these students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. They started off with a Club tour, learning important safety features, Club policies, and procedures. Before they could get into hands-on learning, they spent the first 20 hours of their work-based learning week working in a group with our Club Safety Coordinator, reviewing essential concepts and getting to know one another, their mentors, and the facility. They learned workplace expectations, practiced child-care skills, and played games that reintroduced and reinforced these concepts.

For the rest of the summer, these learners will be putting this training into practice as they shadow our full and part-time Club Staff, gaining direct experience supervising and mentoring youth. Each learner was assigned a group to work with based on their interest, level of experience, and goals for the future, whether those are to work with young children, teach a particular skill like art or music, or spend time being active and outdoors. We appreciate these learners and the enthusiasm and fresh ideas they bring to the Club each summer. Our goal, as always, is that this experience helps give them the skills, connections, and resources they need to succeed throughout their lives. Check out the photo gallery below to see how these awesome teens did during their first week of learning – and don’t forget to check back later for more pictures of their adventures this summer!