Name: Keelan Simpson
Current Organization & Position: Monroe County YMCA – Youth and Adult Sports Coordinator
Year graduated: 2015
How did you get into your current job?
I had worked at the YMCA throughout my years at IU. I first started as a volunteer coach and scorekeeper, and then got hired on as a lifeguard. I eventually became the Aquatics Coordinator and then was able to take my current position. I was able to advance through the organization by working hard as companies tend to lean towards hiring within their own organization.
Could you describe your position at the YMCA?
My current position is the Youth and Adult Sports Coordinator. This means that with the help of my boss I am in charge of all of the sports that go on at the Monroe County YMCA. I oversee all of our onsite programming which includes basketball, soccer, t-ball, tennis and dodgeball. This means I must find coaches, create schedules and get rosters together. I also am in charge of running our Sports Camps during the summer.
What is the most challenging and most rewarding part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job would be trying to please everyone. Parents have only one agenda, their own child. Whereas I have upwards of 200 kids that I need to make sure all have a good experience and it can be sometimes hard to give everyone the individual attention they want. The most rewarding part of my job is when a kid comes up to me and says what a great time they had. I can have a terrible day, but being around the kids makes you forget all about that.
How would you describe a typical day or week of work at the YMCA?
My typical work week is not the normal 9-5pm. Depending on the day I usually start later in the day 10-11am and I don’t leave until 7 or 8pm. I typically also don’t work 8 hours a day because I normally have things going on Saturday and Sunday. I will work 5-6 hours a day during the week because I have hours on the weekend as well. With the recreation field you must set your schedule around when other people are able to recreate. Which means they want evenings and weekends so this definitely isn’t a 9-5 Mon-Friday job.
What skills and/or characteristics are most essential in this field or position?
You definitely need to be able to be flexible and quick on your feet. During program there is so many moving parts all going on at once. You need to be able to make sure there is a ref for one game, answer a parent question, console a crying kid and be traffic control all what seem to be happening at the same time. You also need to be able to think on your feet. If a coach doesn’t show up how are you going to have a practice without the coach? You need to be able to think creatively all within a 5 minute time zone, because parents aren’t so forgiving when practice is 5 minutes late.
What career advice or tips would you give to current students interested in a similar job position as yours?
Get involved early! I know it’s no fun working for free, but even volunteering in the recreation field will help you get your foot in the door. This will open up so many opportunities for you just by helping coach a team, or refereeing. If you find something you’re passionate about stick with it! I loved working at the YMCA from the first day and was open about saying that. If you enjoy working or even volunteering let the organization know! People are looking for employees who are invested in their organization!
Trishnee is a first year PhD student in the Department of Applied Health Sciences and her major is Health Behavior. She was born and raised in Mauritius and is currently having the best time pursuing her doctoral studies in the wonderful B-town. Her hobbies include cooking, reading romantic novels, and playing with her pets. Anything related to health highly interests her and she hopes to reach out to others on health-related issues that matter.
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