REBECCA MANNING: COMING FULL CIRCLE, FROM CAMPER TO COUNSELOR
Meet Rebecca Manning, one of our newer staff members, and self-professed Y kid that grew up through Y programs. One of the first programs she attended was “Mommy and Me” classes at the former Y site on Prospect Street. “I was always doing something at the Y – sports, dance and art classes,” she shared. Her current position at the Y is Welcome Staff representative at the Westwood Park Y.
Rebecca and her brother Matthew, who is two years older than her, have great memories of being campers at Camp Sargent. “For me, this was my favorite Y program. My brother and I both loved archery. At first we barely hit the target, but got increasingly better and hit bullseyes! We made strong connections at camp and loved our counselors so much.”
This year marks 10 years since she started at Camp Sargent. Rebecca’s camp experience has come full circle. She started counselor, training on June 8, for what she expects to be a great summer working with kids. She is assigned to the Fort Building and Survivor specialty camps. “When I was a camper at Camp Sargent I did theater group there. I’m now addicted to theater. Tiffany (Camp Director Tiffany Joslin) was my counselor and now she’s my boss!,” Rebecca said. “I’m looking forward to the training, seeing old friends from Leaders Club and meeting new friends.”
This fall Rebecca starts in-person studies at Lasell University in Boston. She started her college career at Grand Canyon University in Arizona. “Being far away from home wasn’t for me. When I came home from Arizona in December, I looked at Lasell University again. It was rough between COVID and being a lot younger than many students. I wouldn’t change my experience of being away for college, but it was rough times, it showed me what I’m capable of and also what’s important to me.”
Another Y program that had a profound impact on Rebecca was Leaders Club. She tagged along when her brother was in the program when he was in 6th grade. When her Dad would drop off her brother for Leaders Club meetings, she would beg her Dad to let her volunteer at the various events. Rebecca officially joined when she was in 7th grade. She met many youth from around the northeast at Leaders Club rallies, a highlight of the program for many students. The mission of these events is to inspire teens to make an impact in their community through service and relationship building. These rallies are traditionally held at YMCA Camp Jewell YMCA in Colebrook, Connecticut, a venue that is filled with YMCA tradition.
Rebecca traveled with a dozen Leaders Club teens and three advisors to New Orleans in March of last year, just before the pandemic hit. “I’m now such close friends with the people in Leaders Club from our service project rebuilding houses in New Orleans that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It was a week of learning carpentry skills, feeling empowered, and making close friends,” she shared.
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