“During my junior year in high school, I met the Director of Child Care for the YMCA at a school job fair. I applied for a 3-day position that was then held in the main Y building. Once I was hired, I asked if more hours were available and was given a position as a teacher’s assistant at our Grand Street location. This is where my journey began. I have worked with children at the Y for my whole career. From early 2’s through middle school-aged students, I have been involved with our young people in some way or another. I have been a site supervisor for our after care program in the middle school, as well as a camp counselor. Now I am the SACC and Camp Coordinator for our Y. I love being part of a great team at the Y. Having incredible leadership behind me allows me to do what I love most in life, and that’s be there for the children and our community. It is my belief that the people of our community look at the Y as a safe place for people of all ages. That makes a huge impact on people because they know they don’t have to be alone. There are people at our Y here to help whether it is for health or personal reasons, or if it’s just to have someone to talk to. I also have grown tremendously with the Y. The Y has been my family since I was 16. I’ve seen all my special birthdays with my Y family. They have been there to celebrate my joys and accomplishments and have opened their arms for hugs during my times of sorrow. My relationships with my Y family will forever be special to me. One of the most interesting things about my experiences with the Y is seeing my students become my co-workers and staff. Many of my counselors and after care staff were once, and always will be my ‘chipmunks.’ My name as you know is Kourtni, but I will also forever be known as Miss Kourtni because of the Y. Many people, until my recent position, didn’t even know I had a last name. This summer, I am looking forward to spending time outdoors with our campers. While we were closed, I missed visiting schools for morning and after care, getting to know new families and just hearing what our children had to say. They tell the best stories, have the most inspirational thoughts and share the most real feelings. It was hard having our doors closed so suddenly. It was tough not knowing if my young friends were ok. That is why this summer at camp is extra special to me. We are reconnecting and creating new bonds after being affected in a multitude of different ways together. We are having fun, we are laughing and we are making memories that otherwise may have been taken away from us, too. Summer may look a little different for us this year, but the feeling that camp brings is 100% here.”