Today’s guest blogger is Abby Anfinson, one of our corps members experiencing basic training academy.
In the beginning of August, no one takes the Subway to an elementary school in Queens bright and early in the morning… unless you’re one of the 294 City Year New York corps members! We just finished our first week and a half of Basic Training Academy (BTA), to help prepare us for our 10 month journey of service in the New York schools. I had only been in New York for a week prior to BTA and the thrill of being in a new city and taking the subway to work had me fired up before our training even started.
As we all walked into the school doors on the first morning of BTA, we were overwhelmed and possibly taken aback by the crazy energy of the City Year staff and team leaders. They surrounded the doors chanting for us to dance or giving high fives, or do anything else with the enthusiasm that one might do after they win a lottery. The energy and excitement in the space was very evident! It didn’t stop there. Once we made our way to the gym we were given books, journals, nametags, and a monthly Metrocard — score! We were ready to go! We all filed into the auditorium with our binders and supplies in hand, it felt like we were students all over again. We were inspired by the testimonials, the videos, and the powerful values that City Year holds onto. We recognized what a privilege it is to be apart of City Year New York’s 10th year of service. The diversity of the New York team was impressive. The variety of ethnicities, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds had me amazed that we were all coming together for the same purpose and goal.
Blend college, summer camp, and a cheer squad all-together and you get the City Year Basic Training experience. It incorporates a lot of learning and even homework, team-building activities, and these awesome spirit breaks we do at the end of any group activities, meetings and sessions. For the spirit break everyone puts their hands in the middle and we chant: “C-Y-N-Y,” a positive phrase or word. Then we lift our hands up, say “boom!” and we are immediately re-energized.
We had a wide variety of sessions during the week. My favorite classes were about the New York Department of Education (DOE) and their role in the schools I will serve in, as well as a class on the Whole School, Whole Child policy. Each day at training was a bit of a mystery. We knew the general plan, but we were given a new schedule with new sessions and workshops each morning. We were also shuffled around into new teams, called “crazy teams,” a couple times during the week in order to meet and work with different corps members. We closed out each day with our team to reflect on what we learned and to play a game or two. We didn’t leave without a spirit break (of course).
During the first two weeks of BTA, we all had lots of information to process and we were all ready for the weekend after the long days of training. Nonetheless, I was inspired by the information I had learned, all the people I met, and the work I will soon do. I left P.S. 171 all the more fired up for the work ahead!