Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Busy Busy

The closer we get to camp, the crazier things are getting around the J. We still don't have enough staff for any of the 3 camps my boss is in charge of. I think I'm in the most trouble because I'm short on male staff, and I only have about 12.5 hours/week for male staff, so it's tough to find experienced swim instructors who only want to work a few hours a week. It's also difficult because my supervisor is in charge of all 3 camps, so she's a little stressed. She also left town for vacation for a week, so I was responsible arranging interviews upon her return. We have 7 tomorrow! And of course, none of them are for me! It's also a really short week, so I don't have a lot of time to get everything done. Monday was Memorial Day and Thursday evening and Friday are Jewish holidays. Busy busy.

I sat down with my supervisor and her supervisor last week to discuss the changes and all of the extra classes I'm going to have to teach. We decided that we would see if we can find teachers for some of the classes so that I don't have to travel to the suburbs 4 days a week. I'm not sure if we're going to find them, but at least there's a chance I won't be teaching 20 hours a week.

I was happy this week to help out one of my staff members. He had already told us that he couldn't afford to work at camp this summer because he needed more hours and pay than that. Then I found out that one of my old workplaces was offerring a summer internship, so I gave him the information. He applied and got the position. I'm really glad that he's going to get a great experience and that they're going to get a great intern for the summer. I just hope he comes back in the fall because he's great! But I figure, you've got to help people do what's best for them. He'd been a great employee, and he deserves it.

Friday, May 19, 2006



Because the Skokie JCC is closing, there have been a lot of changes at our facility. We lost our regional director and now we're losing our adult director. Lots of the part-time staff are getting "bumped" too.

I just found out on Thursday that I am now responsible for teaching and staffing around 7 more hours of classes, mostly nursery school, in Skokie. I'm not thrilled because I was told these are now just added to my job responsibilities without any compensation. That means I'm now spending about half of my hours at work actually teaching classes, and I took this job to get more administrative experience, not more teaching experience. I don't think I'm going to be able to negotiate this, but I'm hoping to at least talk to my supervisor about it.

I have thought about some other job prospects. I like my job right now, but it's tough working for a non-profit that is struggling. There are a lot of changes going on that are changing my job and the base pay is already low because it's a non-profit. I'm torn about exploring other options though because I'd like to get a full experience out of my job now and really learn what it's like to stay in a full-time position for more than a year. My NIRSA experience has really taught me that I need to take advantage of opportunities when they're presentated to me and to do what's best for my career.

Thursday, May 11, 2006



Well, our algae problem was supposed to get fixed over the weekend. It doesn't look any better, but they tell me that the algae is dead. Then they had to boost up the chlorine a ton for some reason, so my hair and skin is pretty dried out and my new swimsuit is already looking thin. The plan is to now drain the pool once spring classes end, which is in mid-June, so I just have to put up with it until then.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Orthodox neighborhood with staff members from Jewish service organizations all over Chicago. Of course, I was a little more informed about this community that some others on the tour, but I really got a lot out of it. We went to several schools, where I saw a lot of kids and teenagers from classes. We also went to a couple temples, shops, and a mikvah. Our tour guides and speakers were incredibly candid. We heard perspectives from rabbis, teachers, housewives, and shop owners who were all over the spectrum in their beliefs and customs. We learned about types of Orthodox Jews and where those divisions come from and what makes them different even though they have the same beliefs. It was a wonderful experience, but I'm still dragging today because they kept us moving yesterday from 8am to 5pm and then I had to come back to work to teach my last lesson.

Today my goal is to start working on my summer schedule. I have to get an idea of my staff schedule between camp, classes, and open swim time so they can plan their summers. I'm a little overwhelmed with that is going to take, especially because I've only been able to hire 1 male so far for the entire summer, and I need at least 7.

I also learned today, as did everyone else, that our Regional Director was let go last night. She was based at the Kaplan JCC while we have her assistant based here, and since Kaplan is closing, the organization realized that they didn't need both of them to run one building. I guess there are going to be some other jobs lost too, which is tough. These people have been here for 10 years and more, while I've only been here for 6 months, and they're losing their jobs while I get to stay.

It's been a tough couple months, and I'm just looking forward to a fun summer at camp!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


The Big Yellow Monster

Things have been pretty busy since I got back. Our biggest problem has been the yellow algae that has "bloomed" in our pool. It showed up over night at the end of March, and we still haven't been able to get it out. It turns out that yellow algae is one of the toughest kinds to get rid of. It's not a health risk, but it is sticky and has a strange odor, so every day when I get out of the pool, I feel pretty gross.

We found out today that it will most likely continue to spread until we completely drain and clean the pool, which could take up to two weeks. Then there would have to be a revised maintenance schedule to make sure it doesn't come back. The dilemma is whether or not to wait for the break between spring classes and summer camp or to just cancel classes for 2 weeks and do it now. It's not a health risk, but swimmers are unhappy, including members, my staff, and me. It's also going to be very expensive.

All of this discussion about what to do about the algae has left the rest of my work mostly undone. I have about 13 phone calls to return and paperwork to complete. I am happy that the management has taken steps to help me right this problem and part of the revision is going to be that I will now have a copy of the maintenance schedule, so I will know when something is wrong before it gets expensive and time consuming.

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