The New Kid on the Block: a SYEP intern’s first week at Wagner College

The New Kid on the Block: a SYEP intern’s first week at Wagner College

Written by Brandon Atiles

Last week was my first working at Wagner College as part of the New York City summer youth employment program. I expected it to be a mundane job that I would be doing just to gain some working experience and money.

Boy, was I wrong.

My week started by meeting the people leading Wagner College's Department for Lifelong Learning, all of whom were very kind and helpful on my very first day and throughout the week. During lunch was when I would meet more of the SYEP workers besides my brother and our neighbor, and I quickly found myself growing fond of all of them. Though they were a diverse cast of characters, all were nice, welcoming, and instilled a sense of camaraderie amongst each other. Some were also very funny which made getting accustomed to the workplace much easier.

SYEP Counselors

Brandon (Center Left) poses with his fellow Wagner College counselors.

The afternoons were my favorite part of my week, however, as that is when the SYEP interns would become counselors to the children who attend Wagner’s summer camp. Every day would start off in the Coffee House, but other than that, the schedule was never the same. That’s because Assistant Camp Director Erica always had something interesting and intriguing planned. One day we’d take the children out on an environmental scavenger hunt, while on another we’d help them make tie dye shirts, and on another we’d all sing karaoke. Sprinkled in between these activities were times for the children to interact with and get to know each other by either running or playing sports in the oval and football field, playing board games, playing on the computers, or during snack time.

Working at Wagner College was not what I expected it to be – it’s better. The college and those who work there have accepted me with open arms and have made me a part of the family. We all work towards the benefit and wellbeing of the children and aim to provide them with and introduce them to many learning opportunities. My thoughts on working here can best be described with what I overheard one young camper say: “That’s it, this is the best camp ever. I mean it!”