The Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge is where I completed my internship for the summer. I was given the roles of supervising the children and working in the office when not needed at the elementary site. While at the site I helped pass out breakfast and lunches during the scheduled times for the children to eat. I was also in charge of coming up with games for the kids to do during their time in the gym. Some days I took a part of the group out on walks around the block to visit the big chair that was built in Uptown Martinsville. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we took the children swimming, where they had swimming lessons with Mrs. Joane. Also on those Tuesdays and Thursdays, we would take other groups to the museum in Martinsville instead of swimming. Fridays were specially planned trips for all the children to take together.
Sociology can be applied to working with kids as it helps us understand the social factors that shape the kids’ experiences and development. It can be used to help look further into the learning experiences of each child to help their growth in their life decisions within the social world around them. Some of the ways sociology was applied to my experiences of working with the Boys and Girls Club were the importance of understanding socialization, social inequalities, child development, and social issues. Having sociology to help these children grow and learn during their time at summer camp was a fun experience.
Some main skills I took from being with the Boys and Girls Club were active listening, empathy, perspective-taking, critical thinking, observational skills, collaboration, and teamwork. These skills did not only imply while working with the children but also with the staff I work alongside too. This year was a lot of the staff’s first time working together so learning these skills also helped us make a successful fun summer camp for the children. Teamwork came with cleaning up behind the children and critical thinking was coming up with new games for the children to play during their rotations. Observational skills were used when noticing when things are off with children or staff so there can be a type of assistance to help them or just knowing something needs to be done.
These skills were used amongst the staff members to help them understand each other while working together. Being that this was the first time working with each other, it made it a challenge for everyone to adapt to each other’s different working styles with the children. Head directors that directed their own programs were working together and had to have perspective skills to stay on the same page with each other. Those skills involved collaboration and teamwork to make the summer camp routine successful. There were also times when staff didn’t agree on situations but we were all able to have active listening and empathy when sorting out each other’s feelings.
Sociology helps the understanding of socialization within working with children. It helps explore the norms, values, and social expectations that children experience through various social institutions. Learning the socialization within children can help the understanding in creating supportive environments that target healthy socialization for the children. Using sociology to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of these socialization processes on the children’s well-being and development. I was able to see how the children got along with specific groups that knew the same norms, values, and social expectations. Most of the girls would like to listen to music and do TikTok dances while the boys played basketball, soccer, or football during free play.
Social inequalities can be analyzed through sociology by understanding the children’s interactions with everyone and making sure they all have equal opportunities. It can help us recognize how socioeconomic status, race, gender, and disability can influence children’s access to resources and opportunities. Recognizing these things about the children will better their experiences and help the kids know that we care about them as individuals. This is important because it shows the compassion we have working with these children. Some boys wouldn’t want certain children playing certain things with them but I was able to make sure that all the kids had equal opportunities with learning and playing with everyone. If a child wasn’t as good at shooting the basketball I would give them lessons to help them feel more confident in themselves.
Child development can be influenced by social factors and sociology can provide insight on how to help these children in their development. Working with these kids I learned that not only our staff had an impact on them but also their social environments. I was able to create ways of bettering the children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. I did this by coming up with games in the gym, art activities, and outside activities to help with these factors. One of the most targeted developments I focused on was the children’s emotional support. A lot of the children loved to come to talk to me about their emotions, mostly when they were hurting. I was able to talk to them in a way to encourage them about how things were going to be okay. The different games I came up with helped with their cognitive, social, and physical development.
Social issues such as poverty, discrimination, or child abuse can be addressed through sociology in ways to help better a child’s needs. The Boys and Girls Club is a safe place for children to have opportunities in growing in a safe environment. The Boys and Girls Club had scholarship opportunities for children in need of assistance with payment issues. There were meal opportunities such as breakfast, lunch, and snacks given out for the children as well. The Boys and Girls club also welcomed all races and ethnicities to participate in the summer camp.
When coming up with solutions for children to grow in situations they may have disagreements can involve sociological approaches. Teaching empathy, perspective-taking, and creating respectful environments can all be ways that help children battle their growth in disagreements. Targeting these teachings to the children can be a challenge but is worth it when you see the results in a child’s growth. Working on these things also shows the importance of your passion for working with these children. A child also knows when you care and can be rewarding when children look up to you for guidance. Teaching a child these skills can help them grow alongside the opportunity for the individual to learn and grow with the children.
Teaching children empathy and perspective-taking can help a child understand and appreciate that there are different viewpoints than their own. Many children do not understand the perspective outside of their own and it can be hard to teach them otherwise. It was a challenge but I was able to open the eyes of some children in realizing their differences with other children. Having children become active listeners to others and themselves when problem-solving issues or disagreements can make a more peaceful environment for everyone.
There were a lot of key points I learned working with the Boys and Girls Club as patience, time management, assertiveness, and leadership. I was given various leadership jobs where I led the other staff in the children’s breakfast and starting rotations. Working with children requires patience because there are children that are wide awake with energy from the time they get there until the time they leave. Learning how to get the children’s attention for more than five minutes is a challenge. Showing the children love is important but one has to remember that assertiveness is also needed to show them that you are in charge.
Overall, working with this program was fun and exciting to give me more experience with working with children. I learned many aspects and skills that I can take into the real world as I start my entry-level job to help others. This program has shown me that my passion for helping others is something that I like doing as the reward of progression in the ones I have helped. I love watching how the ones around me progress with my help in creating new opportunities for them. Helping others has always been a passion of mine and I am ready to continue my career in the real world.