Monday, May 28, 2012

Intern Life (pt. 1)

Hello friends!!

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all the past and present men and women who are fighting for our rights and our freedom! Especially to my mom, dad, uncle and cousin for their time in the service! 

Well as you may have heard I am a resident of Illinois for (at least) the next three months as I complete my internship! I have one week under my belt and I am so reassured that I made the right decision about coming here!

First of, can I talk about the facilities. A-MAY-ZA-ZING. I threw an extra syllable in there because it's totally necessary. If you want to see a glimpse of it, here's the link to the Vaughn Athletic Center's website. Watch the video in the corner (shout out to the man going across the net monkey bar things in the pool, I KNOW HIM!). Anyway, the facilities allow the clients to have endless limits. The VAC is the Fox Valley park districts recreation center, my department is Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, which operates out of the VAC. I originally thought that FVSRA was it's own entity in it's own building, but I like this way better because it provides an inclusive environment and is busting barriers and stereotypes against people with special needs every single day! 

My first week was a lot of orientation stuff, meeting everyone within the department and talking to them about their specific jobs and responsibilities to get a better overall feel of the organization.
I have also been doing a lot of work with FVSRA's adult programs coordinator. Her name is Marcella, and she's my "mentor."She is in charge of programming for the Adult Day programs. They do tons of different programs ranging from volunteer projects, to exercise programs, to an Skype art class done with another adult day program in Ohio. It's really cool. 

I also got my first round of programs that I will be leading!  My first big task is to take a group of athletes to the Illinois State Special Olympic games in Power Lifting, Swimming, gymnastics and bocce ball. I just completed the coaches training and will be helping out at the last few weeks of practices for them! I am also leading 
  • Field trip Fridays- a program that takes several different age groups to different sites around the cities. 
  • Sensory art, which is creating an art experience that not only creates something awesome but engages each of the five senses. 
  • Splash N Play which is a pool program. They have a mini water park at the facility the program involves new ways twice a week to do gross motor therapy while they play. 
  • Pee Wee sports with 3-5 year olds. ohmygosh. (I'm unsure if I will be able to handle that much adorable twice a week) 
  • Movin' and Groovin' program which gets young adults active in recreational activities while working on life skills. 
  • Aquatic Fitness class for adults and Super Saturdays which is a combination of play, sensory, and movement all wrapped up in an hour and a half!
For all of these programs I will observe and get a general feel for the first 2 days, and then jump right in and take over for the remaining sessions! I have to manage budgets, set goals for the program and the participants, do all of the assessment and intake procedures to group my participants, assess and evaluate them 3 times throughout the program to make sure they are reaching their goals, and do assessments and evaluations at the end to make sure/ improve goals and objectives of the program. I think there is a few other tasks in there that I've forgotten.

The other half of my internship is spent with Inclusion. I am SO very excited about this part. If a child decides they want to participate in Park district (general) programming but needs accommodations, we pair them up with a 1-on-1 or 2on1 aid. I think I am going to be doing my senior project with the inclusion team and would love to stay with them after my internship. I think I am most excited about this part because it is pure TR. From the initial assessment to the final evaluation it is a constant process of progress notes, goals and objectives, evaluations, hands on active interventions, one on one work that will enable a kid to fully and equally participate in a community recreation program! It's also an amazing thing to show the community and the other kids that focusing on an individual’s abilities rather than a disability is possible and much more productive.

I spent this beautiful Memorial Day weekend exploring my new home and the cities around it. I spent most of my time reading in cute coffee shops and spending money at Half Price Books. It was a great weekend. 

I am going to try to update this specific entry look for part 2 next week!