First off, I could honestly name a hundred things that Gather taught me, but I feel like my hands would hurt after typing them all out 🙂 As summer comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on everything I have learned these past few months, because I believe everyday is a learning experience. When I joined the Gather last summer, I had no idea what to expect. Before working here, I was a camp counselor at a sleep away camp and my summers consisted of making sure kiddos wear bug spray and LOTS of outdoor activity. Last summer I made the decision to switch paths and instead of returning to camp, find a summer job that would help me gain experience in the communication management field. After searching and searching, and having no clue where I was going to spend my summer days, I decided this was a job for some coffee. My mom and I went to Peet’s Coffee in Evanston and decided to walk around a little afterward. My mom and I are extremely chatty gals, so our conversations disallowed us to take time to peak into the stores, until we passed Gather. Just by walking past the space, I saw creativity take over. And all of the sudden, I was writing a cover letter and sending my resume to a place that would soon become such a special space to me.
Although I have only been part of the Gather team for two summers, this space truly has a piece of my heart and I have learned so many valuable lessons that I will carry with me lifelong.
- There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to creativity, ANYTHING can be turned into art. A paper bag, a marker cap, even an apple. Definitely learned to see the creativity potential in everything.
- Patience is key. Not only should you be patient while paint dries, it’s important to be patient in everything you do. Kiddos are constantly learning and patience really helps them take the time they need to do that learning.
- Be silly and find humor in everything. When a kiddo puts a bucket on their head, giggle. Laughing doesn’t only make you feel happier, but philosophers weren’t kidding when they said laughing is contagious. Giggles really brighten up the room, which is how Gather stays so bright.
- Always encourage creativity. Whether a child is painting blobs or a detailed farm, tell them that they are doing a great job. The more confident kiddos feel when creating, the more they will branch out and enjoy it.
- And lastly, connect with the community. I am so thankful for Gather and love seeing such a strong community of kiddos, parents, and caregivers come together every single day.