Brenna B.

Gordon Family YMCA

My name is Brenna Bailey aka "Penguin" and I work at the Gordon Y in Sumner, Washington.

Working at the Gordon Family YMCA has truly helped shape me into the young woman I am today and is gearing me toward the life I want to live.

My journey at the Y has been a fast-paced, one of a kind experience that has allowed me to learn things about myself, make treasured friendships, and has introduced me to the most remarkable community members. After transitioning home from Pullman, Washington last December after a tough first semester of college, I never thought I would work at the local Y. I just didn’t think it was in the cards for me, little did I know, that is where I would meet some of the most amazing people. In January, I started this journey as a staff member in Child Watch where I helped children learn and grow.

After about a month, I knew there was a position better suited for me and the college degree I am currently seeking Business Administration. I finally gathered up the courage to poke my head into Member Services Director, Jackie Sawyers' office and introduce myself. Within the week, I was transitioning to a job that would really encourage me to grow out of my shell and gain that one-on-one interaction with our members, a Member Services Representative. After about two weeks of working up front, I was pulled into Jackie’s office, frantically thinking "What could I have possibly done wrong?!" It was right then that I met one of the most influential people I have ever met and truly cherished working with, Matt Van Eaton. Matt informed me of a Summer Camp Registrar position that was open and that I was recommended for the job. I was so excited and thought it had to be fate, so I accepted. Summer Camp forced me to grow in ways I thought unimaginable. I now know almost all the staff at the Gordon Y and have a personal relationship with each and every one of them. I know the campers' names by heart as well as their families. As well as the activities and circumstances going on in their lives. When I see them walking into the facility, their faces light up as they see "Penguin" and rush over to give me a hug. It was this job that changed my attitude on life and molded me into the talk-able, caring, and understanding person I am working to be. I strive to be half the mentor Matt is to those kids. He is patient, he is kind, and he has each staff member and children’s best interests at heart. I have never seen someone put their "all" into a job as he has. I admire his passion and cannot thank him enough for pulling me into Jackie’s office that day, introducing himself to me, and offering me this job. As I said, I do believe fate led me here to do this work, interact with these people, and be a friend to each and every person that walks through our doors, no matter the circumstances.

With that said, I was sad when Summer Camp came to an end, but I can only wait in excitement for what next summer has to offer. After my Summer Camp journey, I was blessed with a Lead position as a Member Services Rep up front serving the members I love and still seeing the kids’ bright and shiny faces as they walk through those sliding glass doors. Within the span of six months, I went from a college student with no job experience to a college student having had the privilege to serve in Youth, Membership, and Youth Administration for the Gordon Family Y and I could not be more proud.

It has been a pleasure sharing my Y story with you and would love to share it with anyone else who may be struggling to find where they are meant to be. I have attached some pictures of the people I have met through the Y and the experiences I have been blessed with.

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