For Camp Counselors and All People Who Want to Change Young Lives for the Better
With this January marking four years, I reflect on my experience as a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee organization. I started working with my Little Brother when he was in fourth grade, and I was still in college. The opportunity to mentor a child was most appealing, having just finished my first summer as a counselor up in northern Wisconsin.
I have always been interested in working with children and being a part of their growth. For that reason, I predicted the next nine months of school would be overshadowed by an eagerness to get back for another summer as a counselor. Fortunately, my university’s club fair hosted a booth for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee organization to find more volunteers interested in mentoring the local youth.
After a round of interviews, background checks, and matching questionnaires, BBBS paired me with a local Milwaukee nine-year-old boy. While we did not share much in common at first, our weekly meetings soon became routine, and a bond began to take shape. The weekly hour of homework and games soon became a highlight of the week for me, forcing me out of my world and enabling meaningful interactions.
Over the last four years, I have seen my Little Brother grow in every way. His reading and classroom performance has improved. His manners with school staff have become more respectful. Most importantly, he has become more confident in himself and his interactions with his peers. I am aware I am not the only one impacting him, but the feeling I get when he asks how many days until I am coming back tells me that we have a relationship that is important to him.
My excitement to continue mentoring my Little Brother through BBBS is indeed rooted in my interest in youth development. I have always had a general curiosity about what and how children are being influenced. The same curiosity has continuously corroborated my involvement with summer camps, specifically working as a counselor back in my college days.
Working as a counselor brought the same joy as my Big Brother experiences. There is no better summer job than the privilege of teaching the tools and values to children to inspire them to be better versions of themselves. Along with motivating children to grow, a young adult will transform into a more responsible, mature individual. This maturity sprouts after assuming total responsibility and care for children while their parents are not around.
Through my observations and experiences over the last four years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served as an impactful opportunity to continue my interest in childhood development throughout the year. In fact, due to the one-on-one structure of BBBS, I have learned many valuable lessons that are not as attainable through a counselor position. Having been a counselor and Big Brother, I was fortunate to be continuously learning to better communicate and teach throughout the year. Any individual passionate about children and making an impact on their lives should consider the incredible opportunity of Big Brothers Big Sisters to inspire a child and prepare them for a better future. Parents tell you what to do, teachers teach you what to do, and big siblings hold your hand, walking you through the changes of life.