Tag: professional

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.


Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking at Summer Camp

Have you ever wondered what it takes to start your own business? Got an idea for a product or innovation that you want to get going on? Love problem-solving?

If any of these questions sound like you or someone you know, consider a new exploration that Summer Youth Programs (SYP) is offering this year: From Idea to Market.

Created as a hybrid of two previous explorations (Be Your Own Boss and The World of Design), From Idea to Market is hosted jointly by Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics and the Pavlis Honors College. To get a first-hand account of how fun a course like this can be, we talked to current Michigan Tech student Sarah Smyth, who attended Be Your Own Boss when she was a high school student.

“I decided to try the business exploration because I wanted to see a bit of what business is like,” Smyth says. She notes that she enjoyed business-related courses in high school and wanted to explore the field further by coming to SYP.

From Idea to Market will cover many aspects of business as well as design thinking: a human-centered process for developing innovative solutions to life’s messy problems. Students will identify a problem they’d like to address and apply the design thinking process to create an innovative solution.

Students explore design thinking at The Alley, Michigan Tech's MakerSpace.
Students explore design thinking at The Alley, Michigan Tech’s MakerSpace.

The course will then dive into the basics of what it takes to start a business by applying the Lean Start-up process to develop a business model. Get ready to pitch your idea to a panel of judges—and you’ll have an opportunity to market your ideas right here on campus.

Don’t worry: no prior experience or knowledge is necessary to become a Michigan Tech SYP innovator and entrepreneur! Smyth’s experience highlights the fun of exploring a new potential major, noting that her favorite part was “the ability to try out my ideas, and talk to professors about their subjects of expertise.” It’s personal, too, and set her up for a great first-year experience as an undergraduate student at Michigan Tech: “I was given the opportunity to meet my future teachers and they still remembered me when I started [here] the following year.”

Students meet with a local business owner at KC Bonker’s toys and coffee.

What else does Sarah remember from her time at SYP outside of class? The experience of being on campus during the summer, making friends, and finding out what being a Husky is all about.

SYP has some of the best people you will ever meet. Everyone is so open and friendly. When going to the beach trip I forgot my swimsuit but a girl I never talked to before offered me her extra one and we got to hang out in the water together. The people here really do care about you and that’s what makes Michigan Tech such an amazing place to go.

We can’t wait to see some of you this June at From Idea to Market. If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, visit the online course listing to sign up today or request a mailed catalog. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


Engineering Scholarships Expand to Answer Middle School Demand

By Cyndi Perkins | Originally Published 4:42 p.m., November 20, 2018

JWIE

The traditional season of giving — both thanks and gifts — is upon us. What better time to look back on a summer scholarship surprise that opened doors for 40 young women interested in engineering careers?

For more than 40 years, Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs (SYP) has been offering experiences that stretch the boundaries of more traditional camps and put STEM education into action through team projects, on-campus activities and field trips. One of the most popular programs is Junior Women in Engineering (JWIE). JWIE is one of several highly competitive scholarship-funded programs that covers tuition, room and board. In 2018, 60 middle-school students applied to JWIE, which historically accepts 20 students.

When ITC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Jipping heard about the overwhelming interest and demand in the program, he proposed a solution: ITC Holdings Corp., an electricity transmission company based in Novi, Michigan, volunteered to cover the $40,000 cost for the remaining 40 young women to attend JWIE and other SYP engineering programs (there are several experiences to choose from).

“Mr. Jipping didn’t want the first message these girls received in pursuing engineering to be a ‘no,'” said Amanda Jackson, assistant director at Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach, which operates the SYP explorations and other college access programs that bring science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students around the country and the world.

“ITC has long recognized the need for more young women to enter the engineering profession. It’s programs like this that quench the thirst for knowledge and help place students on the path to academic — and professional — success.”Jon Jipping, ITC Holdings

A group of young women with the front row kneeling and smiling in summer clothing inside a building on a college campus.
Ashley Simpson has been a part of Summer Youth Programs in three roles now: camper, counselor and mentor. (Michigan Tech Center for Pre-College Outreach)

The company also sent an ambassador — 2009 Michigan Tech graduate Ashley Simpson, a human performance specialist with ITC, returned to Houghton to chat with SYP campers and share what it’s like to work for the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country.

“As an alum of Summer Youth Programs, I know what a difference it can make in the lives of young women,” said Simpson, who attended SYP as a high school students and returned as a counselor during her studies at Michigan Tech. “My hope is that programs like this continue to provide opportunities for young women to grow and succeed while at school, as well as after graduation.”Ashley Simpson, ’09

Read the complete original story by visiting the Michigan Tech news page.