Tag: Michigan

Devin’s Story from SYP!

At the end of each summer we ask students to share with us what attending Summer Youth Programs meant to them in the form of a story contest, these stories never disappoint! Our 2018 middle school level winner shares her story below.

“My name is Devin and SYP has taught me so much. I learned how to be a strong and independent person, how to make the world a better place. I got to experience college living firsthand, and have fun while doing it all. In Engineering 101 we learned about so many different things that come into play in everyday lives without people even realizing. Everything was hands on and taught us how to think creatively, like the time we designed prosthetic legs out of recycled materials in the Bio-Medical lesson. SYP was nothing close to a regular summer camp, but that’s what made it so special. It was days packed full of learning, amazing food, new friends, and a few Walmart runs all mixed into one unforgettable experience. Michigan Tech has always been my dream college. It was so inspiring to learn about science and engineering from instructors of this amazing school. I learned so much about future career paths and can’t wait to learn even more. I hope in the future there will be more and more female engineers that I will grow to work with and learn from. My experience at camp was absolutely amazing, and I hope I can come back next year.” – Devin O., 2018 SYP participant

We love reading stories like Devin’s and hearing that students are not only learning about careers, but building confidence and independence in themselves and their ability to succeed in college. We also hope that Devin comes back this summer to learn even more and work on her own path to becoming a successful engineer.


Benefits of A Summer Program

Why Is It Important To Send My Child To Camp?

Developed from an article shared by the American Camp Association

Youth development experts agree that children need a variety of experiences in their lives to help them grow into healthy adolescents and adults. For children to develop positive behaviors, their experiences must produce:

  • A sense of industry and competency
    • Do they develop skills? Do they learn to work for what is important? Are they successful at what they do?
  • A feeling they are connected to others and to society
    • Do they feel like they “fit”? Do they see a role they can play in their group, family, or community? Do they have friends?
  • A belief in their ability to make decisions
    • Do they learn to make good choices? Do they see the results of their decisions?
  • A stable identity
    • Are they learning what their skills are? Are they receiving positive feedback about themselves?

The mission of Summer Youth Programs to provide quality, innovative teaching and learning experiences that promote academic studies, college life, and career  awareness. Through hands-on, discovery based programs, students break out of their comfort zone and stretch their imaginations-without the pressure of grades, exams, or assignments. Our facilities, along with research and teaching faculty, deans, and advisers, help students develop college and career goals. Current Michigan Tech students serve as role models, providing inspiration, encouragement and guidance.

We survey students each year to determine the impact of our programs on this mission. Here is information gathered from the 2017 Summer Youth Programs student surveys.

  • 96% of students would recommend their exploration to others
  • 92% of students felt their exploration differed from their classrooms back home
  • 88% of students gained confidence in their ability to be successful in a college atmosphere
  • 86% of students showed interest in coming back for another summer
  • 66% of students felt more likely to attend college

Camp and summer programs provide an excellent experience for your child to learn and develop and is uniquely positioned to provide many key developmental needs for children. Consider camp as the perfect partner to family, school, and community youth activities in helping your child learn independence, decision-making, social and emotional skills, character building and values – all in an atmosphere of creativity and enrichment under the supervision of positive adult role models.

“I found my passion. Thank you for the best experience of my life. Everyone should attend a camp like this before college.” – 2018 Women in Engineering attendee

In today’s pressure-oriented society, camp provides a non-threatening environment for youth to be active, to develop competence in life skills, to learn about and enhance their own abilities and to benefit from meaningful participation in a community designed just for them. In addition, our programs invite students to dive into STEM and learning intentionally and purposefully. Students gain valuable insight into what their future career could look like before they even begin college.


Building A Successful Summer Youth Programs Team

SYP SnowmanWith summer just around the corner (or should I say somewhere around the snowbank!), the time has come for us to hold interviews and begin filling the 65+ roles that it takes to make SYP a great experience. Each year, we hire a large seasonal staff for a wide variety of roles from live-in counselor to bus chaperones. This team, many of whom are current Michigan Tech students, always bring their own life experiences, fresh perspectives, and what we call a #BeAwesome attitude to the program—each summer is unique!

So, how do we build a successful team?  
With over 1,000 participants attending our summer programs, we rely on the staff in many ways and they need to be prepared for anything! The good news is, a lot of our staff already know so much before they even apply. With over 700 SYP alumni now attending Michigan Tech, it’s no surprise when many of them want to come back to the program to work as a counselor. They looked up to past SYP counselors for guidance and saw them as positive role models—now they want to give back. These program alumni, along with our dedicated returning staff, are excited to recreate the positive and inviting environment they experienced with SYP and become leaders for new staff members.

Training, Training, Training!
Once our team is selected, the real fun begins! Before any participants arrive on campus, our full team goes through extensive training both in-person, online, and through independent reading. We utilize Expert Online Training sessions that include educational videos and quizzes to prepare staff about problem solving, bullies, becoming a youth development professional, cultivating patience, listening, safe talk and safe touch, helping students fit in, supervising, and more.

All staff then attend a week-long training the week before programs begin that covers: CPR/First Aid training, van certification, background checks, building security, fire drills, mandated reporter training, Title IX training, case studies, student/staff rules and expectations, inclusion conversations, and much more. Even after this week is over, the training never really ends. The best counselors know that they are always learning and growing as they meet new participants each week. Some even say they don’t want it to end.

“THE BEST JOB EVER. The best hours, the best coworkers, and the best professional staff. Everything about this job is great. We heard about the student who wrote for the story contest and she stated, ‘My only regret is not being able to do it again next summer,’ and that is so applicable to me as an employee. I had so much fun with the students and hearing about all of their projects, that the only sad part would be if I am only able to get this opportunity once. Hopefully I can be back at it next summer!”
– Sarah, 2018 SYP staff 

It doesn’t get much better.
As a professional staff, we are so grateful to the incredible student staff who are the heart and soul of SYP—especially to our returners and head staff, some of whom have dedicated three, four, or even more summers to inspiring young people. We come back year after year, too, because as it turns out, we love this opportunity just as much as our students do. It’s so much more than a camp or class-it’s an experience. And for many, it’s life changing. Watching it all unfold; the friendships, the lessons learned, and the discovery of a career path they are passionate about, is what makes each year of planning all worth it.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.