“How has it been thirty-five years?”
That’s Karen Kane’s reaction when looking back on 35 years working at the YMCA of Greater Saint John in Child Care.
Working at six different Child Care locations, Karen remembers early on, while working as an on call babysitter, a supervisor saw something special in her, and gave her a shot.
Karen very quickly realized that Early Childhood Education (ECE) was something she was meant for, and soon after working full time, she began night classes twice a week to complete her ECE Certificate. Ever since then Karen has continued to primarily work with the three to four year olds, and for a short time working with five year olds.
“I love to be creative,” says Karen as she reflects on why she has stuck with that age group.
For Karen, the three to four year olds come with a lot of curiosity and inquisitiveness and are able to engage and participate well. She enjoys their excitement over what they are learning, allowing her to express her creative side through daily lessons and activities. This has allowed Karen to grow in many different ways, even learning to enjoy eating vegetables as she would encourage the children to try things like broccoli and other healthy food.
When asked what keeps her going each day, Karen mentions that every day is different. Each day brings new challenges, both good and bad, but she is proud of the work she is doing with the children. She is especially proud to have made a positive impact for more than 600 families in the 35 years she has been with the Y.
“You have to be a certain kind of person to do this job this length of time,” said Karen noting that kind of person is someone with patience, strength, perseverance, resilience, and flexibility.
One of the things she loves is getting updates from parents of where their children—many whom are now parents themselves—are at now on their life journey. One child in particular that stands out is now an opera singer overseas!
The impact of Karen’s Y journey is not limited to only children and their families, but extends to her Y staff family. Known to several Child Care staff as their “work mom,” Karen continues her impact through mentoring new staff to help them grow and develop in different best practices in Child Care.
“What’s been really cool…is seeing where the Y was 35 years ago, and how much even the [Child Care] has changed and grown…how I’ve grown through working here 35 years.”
Work at the YMCA of Greater Saint John!
Are you or someone you know passionate about Early Childhood Education and are looking for a meaningful job, a caring work environment, and an opportunity to reach your fullest potential? If so, consider a career with the Y!