Reflections On My Journey As An Intern With YGOS
(Yi Sin joined YGOS under a program via the Youth Corps Internship Scheme, a programme by Youth Corps Singapore, which champions youth volunteerism. YCIS offers youths an opportunity to develop themselves through on-the-job training and learning experiences to develop life skills and enhance job preparedness. Youths are enabled to contribute back to community by serving at organisations in the community and social sectors.)
Hello! I am Yi Sin, and I would like to share my own journey during my internship at Youth Guidance Outreach Services (YGOS).
Through the past 6 months of internship in YGOS, I have learnt and gained much insight about the youth sector in the social services industry. Some positive takeaways include understanding myself better as an individual and not being afraid of trying something new regardless of software understanding (Adobe Premiere Pro) or physical activities such as Tchoukball and Kinball.
The importance of being genuine with those around me, to be my true self, was also something that was imparted to me during this internship. This is significant because when I practise being genuine with the youth that I interact with, they will be able to feel the sincerity I have for them which will eventually help to build trust between them and myself.
Embracing The Beauty In Simple Actions
The thought of engaging youths may seem like a challenging task for some; however, I have come to realise that it need not be so!
In fact, to break the ice, certain small actions I took to show that I care for the youth were as simple as remembering their names and also the menial things they may talk about like their favourite food or mobile games that they enjoy playing!
Remembering these few pointers about the youths helps in our conversations when I meet with them again. Youths will hopefully be able to sense that I genuinely care for them by recalling their likes & dislikes, and rapport is built.
However, it is not always so easy to put this into action. Over time, I realised that an easy way to drive youth away from us would be to ask them questions in a way that would “annoy” them, as you may seem like an authoritative figure seeking to control them instead of genuinely caring for them. What then happens is that the youth will avoid you, shutting themselves up and distancing themselves away from you as they find you “annoying”. I also came to realise that youths tend to give a cursory response like “it’s okay” to our questions, without much thought. Hence, whenever I encounter such situations, I learnt to encourage them to share more of their opinion, assure them that I was listening and eventually lead them to understand where I am coming from, such that they would not feel as irritable by my conversation with them.
Yi Sin (2nd from left) with fellow colleagues!
Understanding What It Means To Be A Youth Worker
In addition, this internship allowed me to better understand what it takes to be a Youth Worker (YW) in a Youth Organisation like YGOS.
I learnt that to be a YW in this sector, one will need a heart for the young and also the willingness to engage themselves with the youth even after working hours, if need be.
Good communication skills and resilience is key to thrive in this occupation, as the job can sometimes be mentally or emotionally tiring since we interact with youths who desire to share their troubles with us to seek support on an almost daily basis. Hence it is necessary to check-in with your supervisor so that they can also empower you with their support mentally, emotionally and physically.
As a YW, it is also crucial to be kept up to date with theoretical understanding of treatment or intervention methods, as well as make the effort to be aware of the latest trends amongst youth, in order to connect with them better. For example, I was introduced to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs by my supervisor, which then allowed me to pinpoint which area of need was urgent in my mentee’s situation.
Yi Sin and a fellow intern from NUS, Grace, trying out rollerblading!
Personally, as an Arts student without prior background in youth work, I felt fortunate to be given the chance to showcase my creativity by supporting my team in poster making for publicity purposes and video editing for engagement programs. Through this stint, I was also given the opportunity to hone both hard (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Microsoft Excel etc) and soft skills (in the areas of determination, resilience, communication etc).
I would like to say that my time with YGOS was indeed an eye-opener for me, and I’ve also been equipped with multiple skills that have resulted in my own personal growth. I am hopeful that I can bring these experiences with me wherever I go next in my career!
By: Neo Yi Sin
19 years old, student at Republic Polytechnic