Growth: Where Expectations Find Their Way to Reality

When I first arrived at YSS I had an action plan prepared; I planned to jump into the deep end - creating and bringing in new courses. Getting started though, my first project was not quite so grandiose, but arguably much more important. I was to code and derive meaning from the results of a staff survey.

Staff at YSS had been asked a few questions regarding their experience with trainings through YSS so far and changes they would be interested in going forward. This was a great place for me to start. I learned so much about what staff were looking for and how I could help. The majority of the responses were about content. They wanted more opportunities; to learn more; and to better support their programs, their work, and the youth they served. But they also wanted greater resources, supports, and accessibility.


It was at this point, moving forward from these responses, that a new action plan began to take shape. I realized that as much as new content was wanted and needed, new infrastructure was more important. YSS University wasn’t just about bringing in more training opportunities, it was about improving the way that training was done at YSS. I began working instead on infrastructure, creating a Course Catalog, a Specialist’s Handbook, a Training Course Reference Catalog, and a Training Requirements by Department/Program Catalog. This reorientation began the growth of my abilities to be flexible and to prioritize.

Creating these, along with a few other smaller supports, was an overwhelming project at first. There was so much information to gather — and so many places to gather it from — and then to sort through it all to choose what information and how it should be presented.

I had a number of one-on-ones with taskforce members (YSS created a taskforce focusing on developing YSS University) and other supervisors in the agency both to gather information and to learn what others’ priorities for this project were. Ultimately, this was one of my favorite parts of my fellowship. These meetings really helped me ground myself in my work. I saw the direct impact my project would have: alleviating some stress from supervisors and HR, making certain aspects of training more efficient and accessible, and improving communication across departments/programs at YSS.

This was also where I needed to be very flexible because I had a reasonably short time with YSS working on this project and a lot of information to gather. I had to be flexible with my time and goals for the project to meet the time and goals of the people that YSS University would serve.

I learned to be flexible in these tendencies and adapt myself and create priorities, which centered around others’ goals versus my own desires and standards

I have some micro-managing and perfectionist tendencies that I worked through and let go of to be successful in this project. I learned to be flexible in these tendencies and adapt myself and create priorities, which centered around others’ goals versus my own desires and standards. This growth has been particularly impactful for me. I am excited and proud to see the work that I have done here. It has brought me closer to both understanding my passions and having the tools to realize them. I loved being able to create infrastructure for such a meaningful project and to be able to work with individuals throughout the organization to ensure I was creating materials that would be most supportive and effective for them. I look forward to doing similar work in the future, particularly work that gives me a sense of fulfillment and meaning as this project has.