Working at the YMCA of the Rockies

It really has changed my life. I knew I was making the right decision when I first applied for working here, and I knew that I was going to have some good experiences, and meet new people… but it has by far done so much more for me.

It’s really interesting, if I begin to think about it more deeply. I hadn’t expected to be so impacted by others around me. I have made so many great friends here, and I can no longer imagine my life without any of them.

To think what I would have missed, if I had gone off to Europe again this past fall. Lots of things would be missing from my life, and it nearly saddens me to think about it. Oh, I am so thankful!

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When I first arrived at the Y, I was blown away by the beauty that surrounded me. There were mountains that touched the sky and rolling hills everywhere with forests of evergreen. The air seemed cooler and fresh, but I did find it difficult to breathe at first. I would become so out of shape just by walking up simple staircases or steps. Within the first few days I saw a Mama bear with her 2 cubs and dozens of elk and deer roaming around the area. I hadn’t expected to be exposed to wildlife so quickly!

It would be so warm during the day requiring a t-shirt or tank top, while at night it was cold and chilly and I’d have to wear a jacket and scarf in order to stay warm and comfortable. Typical out climate out here in the West. The place here sits right in the midst of the mountains and I am forever enchanted by its beauty. It reminds me so much of Switzerland, actually. And when I visited the Rocky Mountain National Park, I  felt like I had almost been trekking through the Swiss Alps.

I really do love mountains ❤

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So! About my coming here. I flew, leaving my car behind as well as most of my possessions. I left them with my family back home in Georgia. I came with a big suitcase, a smaller suitcase, a backpack and determination to make the best of what was to come. I got up at the crack of dawn to catch my flight. I remember being so tired; I had barely slept that night due to excitement and anxiousness. At the airport, I felt at ease. I was greeted in a friendly manner by everyone, it seemed. I ended up engaging in quite some interesting conversations with a soldier who had been to Iraq and gave me a $5 bill in their currency. We ended up riding right by each other as we flew to Atlanta to change flights. There we parted ways, but not before me giving him my YouTube channel so he could continue to follow my journey. We wished each other the best of luck as we headed to catch out next flights. I landed in Denver in the afternoon to ride the shuttle which had me arriving at the YMCA around 4pm.

I wasn’t so much nervous as I was anxious and excited. Everyone I met or bumped into were extremely friendly. I felt at home. I met my roommate who was perfect. She ended up not staying long, but for the first couple weeks I was there, we got along great…even if we were polar opposites. But for the time I did share a room with her, it was great.

The first week was concentrated on getting to know each other and we would play introduction games, do activities together to help “break the ice” per se. And the group I’m with (for I’m apart of ‘Elevate’ of the YMCA) is perfect. We are a family. We stick up for each other and love each other like we were brothers and sisters. This is how I feel and I have grown real close to them all ❤

And I did come here to make more American friends, LOL. Most of my friends had been internationals. Now, it’s about the same (the internationals still outweigh the Americans, but it’s more than what it was). It feels great to have close friends in the same country.

It has been a little sad and hard now that all the internationals are gone. I hadn’t imagined meeting so many! They were from countries like: Ecuador, Columbia, Spain, Croatia, Taiwan, China, and Turkey. It was neat to meet these people from all over the world, and everyone working in the same place and becoming like one big family.

I miss them so much and it has been a little challenging to get over. The Y seems so empty now. Of course, it’s becoming easier to deal with. Now it’s been right over a month since they’ve left and as the weeks pass, I get used to it being less lively. Winter is coming – the slow seasons are here and there’s far less people here visiting and working compared to the summertime.

I switch between 3 different departments here: Food Service, Housekeeping, and Conference Set-up and Services, with food service, being my personal favorite. I love the energy and atmosphere of it all, getting the chance to see my friends, and always being on the go. Of course, as I said, it’s slowed down immensely and it can honestly be a bit boring at times. It’s still better than the other departments in my opinion.

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Working at the Y is a challenge sometimes, too, though. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it is a huge resort type place. This place is so big and there are so many other departments of work. The Y expands for miles. That’s the way it feels, anyway. The other challenge, however, is the role of leadership and communication. If I could change one thing about this, it would be that the communication would be much better than it is.

Yesterday was a perfect example of how chaotic things can be sometimes.

We had an event to prepare for, and had been preparing for it for a little while. At least, for a week. Since I’m currently in the department of CSS (Conference Set-up and Services) it was part of our job to set-up the tables and chairs for this huge room, called the Assembly Hall. We also cleaned the room up, helped out with any needed decorating, etc. It was quite a night! So many people showed up and the food service department became overwhelmed that me and one of my friends, Hannah, volunteered to help out. It was go-go-go for a while and we became so exhausted  and tired. The food smelled so good, but we didn’t have time to eat.

Our other elevate group was supposed to show up and help out but no one informed them due to lack of communication. It was a scattered mess. And so when some of our friends showed up, me and Hannah enjoyed making them all feel guilty xD It was a great night, though. And everyone was thankful for our help. By the time we finished our work, we were nearly too exhausted to eat.

Recently, this past Thursday, all of Elevate went to Denver, Colorado on a service mission project trip. We spent some time in a place where they sorted food and canned goods that were donated to homeless people. It was good work and I felt like I was contributing directly to those who had less than me. Plus, I enjoy working with my friends. Graham, one of my new best friends, made the trip so much better and way more fun than I imagined. He and I sat on the bus together and talked and flipped through this book about Colorado he’d brought. It was about legends, folklore, myths, and stories that all revolved around Colorado. Quite interesting. We both have a strong interest not only in history, but also the paranormal.

Doing the service work in Denver altogether tho was fun. It was kind of like a race, tossing cans to each other and seeing how fast we could get our work done. Together we really are a great team. I love them all so much. I’m going to really miss all of them when I have to leave next month.

 

 

 

 

 

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An artistic musician who enjoys writing about her travels while capturing magical moments in life with her camera. She also likes to eat ketchup with everything.

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