Tag: staff

Introducing our 2019 SYP Head Staff Team!

SYP Head Staff
L to R Front: Grace Kluchka, Mallory Benkert, Skylar Callis  | Back Row: Zachary Smith and Rob Lambert

As the start of Summer Youth Programs quickly approaches, we are very excited to introduce you to our 2019 SYP Head Staff team. This amazing group of Michigan Tech students take on additional leadership in the summer, including training during orientation, coordinating staff schedules, and problem-solving when the unexpected arises.

During the first few head staff meetings, they shared what they are most looking forward to this year. Here are a few of their thoughts:

I have been a counselor in the past and really enjoyed igniting students’ passion for STEM and asking them questions.  I am looking forward to using my past experiences as an activity and day counselor to solve any issues and develop some new campus activities that are free/low cost for participants to try.

Grace Kluchka, Head Activities Counselor

Returning Head Operations Counselor Robert Lambert shared the value of being a second-year as a Head Counselor and third year member of the SYP staff.

I really enjoyed last summer as a head counselor and grew a lot as a leader and a person. This year I am starting with a better understanding of my role and bringing more experience and attention to details.

Mallory Benkert worked with SYP last year as a Student Coordinator; this year, she will bring those strong organizational skills to the leadership team as as Head Counselors’ Counselor. And, no, you didn’t read that wrong—although it is an odd job title! The HCC is in charge of scheduling, general check-ins, and any concerns from the staff members themselves.

I was motivated to apply to be on the leadership team so I can be more “in” the scenes than “behind” the scenes.

Zachary Smith and Skylar Callis also bring a summer of experience to their roles, and will both be taking on new perspectives within SYP. Zach worked at the front desk last year and will move into the Head Residence Counselor Role. Skylar, meanwhile, is taking on Head Operations with Rob after spending last year as a Residence Counselors.

As June approaches and final plans fall into place, we are very excited to work with this Head Staff and our full SYP team to bring another great summer of programs to you. 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.


SYP Staff Spring Training

Staff photoFollowing Michigan Tech’s spring break, we all returned with a ton of enthusiasm here in the Center for Pre-College Outreach. Among many other springtime happenings, March brings the first all-staff gathering of a Summer Youth Programs cycle!

This Spring Training was held on March 20th for all staff who accepted a position with SYP. From residence counselors to chaperones, we all gathered together to accomplish a few pre-summer goals. First and foremost, Spring Training provides an opportunity for the head counselors to meet their staff: as peer leaders, it is critical to start building a sense of teamwork as soon as possible! The different staff groups got together to learn names, ask preliminary questions, and get a feel for what their summer will look like.

From there, we spend time outlining summer expectations. We discuss the schedule: what weeks are SYP explorations running? When are the competitive scholarship programs? Which days do staff get off? We also cover expectations of ensuring safety, acting as excellent role models, providing a welcoming and inclusive experience, and the impact of SYP.

Staff are also introduced to the first few items on their training checklist: what days first aid/CPR training is offered, when they will receive their general safety awareness training links, and the time frame for picking up staff books. All in all, Spring Training is a great primer for getting staff excited and prepared for another great summer!

All of the details about the scholarship programs, including required application materials, can be found on our website. If you have any questions, you can always reach us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


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.


SYP 2019 Hiring Has Begun!

How many people does it take to run a summer program? For us, the answer is: hundreds! Between the instructors, teaching assistants, campus partners, and our summer staff, there are so many people involved in making Summer Youth Programs a success each year.

The first phase of our hiring process just started yesterday. We had an information session for Michigan Tech students who either worked for us in the past or attended SYP when they were younger. Returning staff bring so much knowledge to the crew: they have faced challenges, seen the highlights, and lived the mission. People who attended the camps also have a unique perspective – often, they let us know that they remember the impact their counselors had on them. Now, it’s their turn.

Michigan Tech students who are interested in working for us should visit the hiring page of our website for more information. Another general information session for people new to the wonderful world of SYP will be coming up in January as well.

If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, you can go ahead and request a catalog. That way, you will be among the first to receive the 2019 listings when they print. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.