In February all the departments that fall under the umbrella of Guest Services got together for a day retreat. One of the activities involved sharing our "Y story," the story of how we came to work at the YMCA of the Rockies. I've mentioned my job on this blog many times, but haven't really told how I came to be here. So since May marks my fifth year of continual work at the Y, I thought I'd share mine.
Some high school friends and I were catching up with each other during Christmas break of my junior year of college. We were discussing upcoming summer break plans, and I'd mentioned that I wasn't excited about returning to Red Oak for a third summer.
Two of those friends had been employed at the Y in previous summers and suggested I apply for a job there. A three month break in the mountains didn't sound like a bad deal.
I filled out the online application by Spring Break but didn't hear anything for a month and a half. So by the beginning of finals week I had given up hope of going to Colorado for the summer. That's why the Tuesday afternoon phone call from the Y that week surprised me.
It was the HR department calling to say that there had been a cancellation that allowed an opening in Housekeeping for me. I accepted, and within two weeks I had put my belongings in storage, bought a car, and drove cross country.
That summer was a defining point in my life. It was the farthest I'd been from home. I had gone out alone, not knowing a soul. There was no TV. I spent much free time hiking and communing with nature.
It was a kind of sabbatical, too. I discovered St. Malo, where Pope John Paul had visited during Denver's World Youth Day. I went to daily Mass on my days off. I was able to do deeper personal study of the Faith. And being one of only a handful of Catholics at the Y, I had to know how to explain myself to others.
Leaving was bittersweet. I was ready to return to my family and friends in Iowa--if not exactly ready to return to college--but it was difficult to leave Colorado.
That ache for the mountains stayed with me for awhile. But even then, my wallet got in the way of my heart; I didn't think I could financially afford another summer in Estes. Between my first and second senior years, I stayed in Cedar Falls.
Early on into that summer I realized my mistake, and the following year I made plans to return to the Y after graduation.
About a month into that summer, it happened that there was an opening for a full time position in Housekeeping. Being a philosophy major, I figured scrubbing toilets was a pretty good use of my degree.
And now it's been five years. Wow.