“Oh to be a kid again.” Have you ever found yourself saying that? We probably don’t really mean it – but we just want the simplicity that childhood offered. The funny thing is - kids are always saying the same thing in reverse. Remember being kid and thinking, “I can’t wait to be a grown-up”? We wanted to stay up late, have freedom, watch more movies, and generally be treated like an adult. Kids are always looking for an adult to make them feel more like an adult. They just want a mentor.
Think back to when you were a kid…did you have a person you looked up to or was a mentor to you? For me it was Mr. Jason from summer camp. He was goofy and fun, which - of course - is what we wanted as kids. But, he was also serious when he needed to be. He challenged me and the other kids in camp to be responsible and mature. He was fun and relaxed, but also firm and disciplined. I remember wanting to be like him.
As a teenager, the person I looked up to was Mr. Jim. He was willing to call me out when I acted immature, but was also willing to step alongside me and give me direction. He encouraged me, pushed me to be a continually growing person, and never gave up on me. He was my mentor.
Both of these adults (and many more) played an impactful role in my life as I grew up. They had a direct effect on my life goals and journey, and I wouldn’t be here today without their influence.
The truth is, all kids need that someone…and each of us can be that for a child today. Here at the Y, we are uniquely dedicated to impacting young people for the future. It starts with just taking the time to care about kids and their dreams for the future. And then…just being there for them. And that can be you too!
Youth Development Director
Watertown Area YMCA