Thompson Rivers University

YMCA exchange fosters independence and maturity

October 18, 2016

TRU student Jaime facilitating the YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange program.

My name is Jaime Oetter, I’m in my third four-month work-term.

I am the Local Coordinator for the YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange Program in Kamloops, an amazing program for youth age 16 and 17 from all over Canada to spend six weeks in Quebec living with a host family. It is a reciprocal exchange where the youth going to Quebec switch houses for the six weeks with a student from Quebec. The best part of this program is that the youth are placed in jobs for the six weeks they are away from home. The places of employment are all non-profit employers, and the YMCA pays the salary for the students working there. That is why this program is so amazing, because both the students and employers benefit; the youth get a 35 hour/week paid summer job, and the employers get subsidized labor for six weeks.

First, I promoted this program to students in Kamloops. After the application deadline closed, I interviewed all of my applicants to determine the best nine candidates for the program. I also interviewed their families, as I needed to ensure that participants would be placed with suitable hosts.  I am hosting my own Quebec students and having such a good time. They are all loving their summer jobs!

I scheduled employer visits every two weeks to check in with the student’s behavior and performance. I also visited the host families to see how the Quebec student is fitting in. Everyone was very happy with their living situations. I was told that I did a good job of “twinning” (placing students into homes we think they will fit in best).

It was my responsibility is to take the students on activities three times a week. The main focus is to explore the city and surrounding areas—show all that Kamloops has to offer. It’s exciting to get to know all of my students from Quebec and help them strengthen their English language skills—and to watch their progression in both their second language as well as independence and maturity.

For more information about the TRU Co-op program visit the website or call 250-371-5627.

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