Constructive Chaos at the Youth Bureau

It’s hard to believe I’ve been at the Youth Bureau for two months already! I didn’t have too many expectations before starting my year of service, but it is pretty much what I thought it would be (challenging but great)!

I read somewhere before starting this year that in your first few months as a VISTA you are like a sponge, absorbing any information you can about your host site. That is definitely how I feel. I am still learning new things every day about YAR, the Youth Bureau, and our partnerships. There is so much to know here and it is such a complicated system that it has taken me this long just to wrap my mind around how it all works. It’s been a little frustrating because it is difficult to describe what I do, what organizations I am a part of, and what we do together (VISTA, RYY, the Youth Bureau, YAR, YES, etc.). Still, I am feeling much more confident approaching community organizations, talking to them about YAR, and encouraging them to apply for our grants. I’ve accomplished a lot of other things too, and I feel that I’m well on my way to completing some of the tasks outlined in my VAD.

There have been challenges. Working in youth development is hard. Our program is supposed to be youth led, and any changes to the program are supposed to come from the youth. However, I am here all day every day coming up with changes, and we only see the youth once a week if we’re lucky. I can’t always have them around to contribute to what I’m doing, and I feel bad about that. Partnerships are also hard. I’ve always considered myself very open-minded, but being a part of YES has taught me to truly look at situations from many perspectives and challenge myself to constantly change my thinking.

Despite the challenges and frustrations, I really do love my job here. It’s exciting to be a part of a program that ties together my interests in youth and sustainable development and allows me to make a real difference that will (hopefully!) last.

-Leanne

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