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YMCA rallies behind teen employees

Teens make up most of the YMCA summer work force

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Siblings Amber and Marion Pelican have been going to the YMCA in Arvada for many years. So, when it was time to get their first summer job, it only felt natural that they would seek employment at a familiar place.

The brother and sister team are lifeguards at the YMCA’s indoor pool this summer.

“It’s a cool job,” said Marion Pelican, 15. “It’s really fun getting to know people. It’s like we’ve formed a new family.”

Teens and young adults make up a majority of the work force at the Arvada YMCA said Jen Spettel, executive director.

“They bring fresh ideas and new ways of thinking to their positions,” Spettel said. “The Y provides training opportunities to match their skills with the right job. Many seasoned Y employees got their start working part-time jobs at the Y as teenagers.”

Some skills the Pelican siblings have learned are CPR, first aid and lifesaving skills. It has also taught them leadership and critical thinking.

“At the Y, teens and young adults have opportunities to get involved and development leadership skills that will help them in school, life and their future,” Spettel said. “As tomorrow’s leaders, the Y recognizes that teens can discover their potential, inspire others and make an impact on our community.”

Amber Pelican, 16, said that since starting work at the YMCA, she has gained a greater respect for those who risk their lives every day. Her brother, hopes the YMCA becomes more than just a summer job.

“Teens are great employees and we need them,” Spettel said. “I’ve seen young children that participated in camps and programs now become employees. Seeing it come full circle is inspiring.”

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