August 16, 2019
I cannot believe that today is my final day at Youth Services! It has been a lovely experience working with this agency and in the office for the vast majority of my summer. I have greatly enjoyed working in such a calm and encouraging work environment. I am proud of the projects I have accomplished including my youth evaluations report and activity binder. This internship and its generous funding has allowed me to serve the LGBTQ+ community and reflect on my career goals and aspirations. I still believe that LGBTQ+ advocacy is extremely important and have enjoyed fostering connections and support between LGBTQ+ young people, however, I hope to do more policy-oriented work in the future. This internship has given me an important sample of what being a youth worker might look like. Working with young people in the Camp Pride groups and attending a training for other youth workers led by my supervisor Lizzy earlier in the summer were especially helpful. One thing I really appreciate about our Pride programming is that it is free of cost for all. Removing that barrier is important, especially for young people who may not be fully supported by their parents. However, I also have learned the value of maintaining connections with parents through conversations with my supervisor.
Action Camp was an excellent climax for my internship as it allowed me to experience queer youth work at its highest intensity. I had so many pictures for camp that I have the pleasure of attaching some to this post. One thing I did not mention in my previous post is that it was also an excellent opportunity to network with queer professionals of all ages in the Chicago area. I enjoyed getting to know some teachers and had the opportunity to ask a variety of questions about their educational background and experience at their current work place. I hope to attend camp next year, potentially as a bunk counselor, but I hope to stay in touch with many of the counselors regardless. I have one more year of studies at Cornell College, and then I plan to do community advocacy work in Chicago as stated in my blog.
It is kind of nerve racking that my time at Youth Services is coming to a close as that means my fall semester is starting soon. I will be spending my fall semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the School for International Training studying social movements and human rights. This will be my first time traveling outside of the United States, so I am very nervous. All of my coursework will be in Spanish and my goal is to achieve fluency by the end of the program. I have seen throughout my time at Youth Services the benefit of being a bilingual clinician as many clients and their parents are not necessarily comfortable speaking in English. Although I do not plan on becoming a therapist, I know my Spanish skills will be useful regardless of where I go. I look forward to returning to an academic environment this fall but I also plan to use my training here in my future career.
Oliver is a politics and Spanish major from Chicago, Illinois.