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Final Week of the 2014 Intern Challenge

Last week’s intern challenge at the Illinois Department of Public Health ended with heartbreak for two and gleaming hope for not 3, but 4 interns named finalists for the last task of the 2014 Intern Challenge. This week’s assignment from Rockford Health Systems is really what is going to set the champions apart from the rest of the competition. Interns have been assigned the duty of developing an action plan to reach those who should, but aren’t seeking medical attention, identify health issues in our local community, and develop strategies to promote and enhance the wellness of these residents. The four contestants have been split into two teams. Each team must give a 10 minute presentation to a panel of judges consisting of Rockford Health Systems executives, followed by a 10 minute Q&A session. The presentations need to reach appropriate untreated patients while also detailing a plan to improve access to wellness in the Rockford Area. In addition to the work for Rockford Health Systems, interns have been asked to make a video profile of themselves, explaining why this internship is important to their success, as well as submit a resume with cover letter. The third and final piece of this week’s challenge is to sell tickets for our annual “COOL” Raffle, in which one ticket winner will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize. If the YMCA successfully sells 300 tickets, $20,000 will go to the YMCA Strong Kids Foundation to support our cause. Interns must show that they have the ability to engage with the community, advocate for resources, and help build a solid foundation for which the community rests on. The final boardroom of the 2014 Intern Challenge will take place on Monday, August 4th at 1:00PM at Anderson Japanese Gardens, general public is welcomed to attend. Also, if you are interested in purchasing tickets for the August 5th “COOL” Raffle, email Bridget Leden at bleden@rockriverymca.org or call our corporate office at (779)...

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Intern Challenge “Semi-Finals”

The intern challenge is now in its second to last week, with only 6 of the 12 competitors remaining. Last week’s task for BMO Harris Bank went well, with both groups coming up with viable tactics for attracting millennials to the banking industry. Team Progression, led by Tracy Van, came up with the idea of having student ambassadors at colleges and universities to promote the banking industry to fellow millenials. Team Torrent went a different direction, introducing the idea of “guerilla marketing” to the board members, with the idea of a street performance and a viral video. Team Progression were awarded a clean sweep in all of the judging categories, scoring a 700/700 and leaving Torrent in the dust. When it came down to the board room, the atmosphere was tense. Team Torrent had been confident in their strategy all along, but it may have been their confidence that led to their undoing. With only 4 team members under fire, nobody on the losing team is safe. Ultimately team leader, Andre Agosto was eliminated due to his team’s performance. Also eliminated was Samantha Suby, of team Progression, as this was a double elimination week, and she was voted as the weakest competitor by her fellow interns. Now as we enter the semi-finals of this competition, the level of competition as well as expectation for the interns has been set extremely high. This week will determine what three competitors will be in the finals next week, and who will be guaranteed scholarship money. The competitors met at the Illinois Department of Health building in Rockford, and were greeted by not only the top executives of the Rockford region, but 5 other branches throughout Illinois as well, including the headquarters in Springfield and Chicago. They were given a rundown of the Illinois Department of Health, what they do and how they function. Then, the interns were assigned their task. The task this week is somewhat similar to last week’s. The challenge is to create a quality presentation that illustrates new methods of educating millenials on the Illinois Department of Public Health. In this presentation needs to be a professional-quality Youtube video that will be used and sent around by the Illinois Department of Public Health, and broadcasted over their social media...

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YMCA Intern Challenge Week 4

The stakes continue to rise as week four of the YMCA intern challenge is upon us. With a boardroom meeting on Monday, and another on Friday of this week, contestants have to work quickly and diligently in order to be successful in this weeks assignment. For their last task, teams were assigned the job of raising funds for our 2014 annual campaign. The bar was set high for the teams to raise $2500 each in order to avoid elimination. Although presentation was part of the judges scoring, what this challenge ultimately came down to was dollars raised, as well as number of donors. Team Torrent, coming in off of a big week 3 win presented, and admitted to having a slow start to the project, and listed many difficulties posed along the way. They contacted businesses, presented at local churches, and went door-to-door in their efforts to raise money. They were successful in raising close to $1600, and establishing 36 new donor relationships. Team Progression, with only four team members as opposed to Torrent’s six, came into this challenge the clear underdog. But behind driven team leader Bianca Ojeda, they were not going to let this challenge slip away like last weeks. Team Progression contacted businesses, different organizations, as well as family and friends, in an effort they called “friendraising”. Through a deal made with the “Chipotle” restaurant, they received half of the money on purchases on July 6th, between the busy hours of 1pm-4pm. In the end, with less members and the odds stacked against them, Team Progression came out on top, raising over $2800, and establishing 50 new donor relationships, keeping them safe from elimination this week. After a long and heated boardroom discussion, team Torrent had to say goodbye to another one of their members. Then the remaining 9 interns were called together, to be assigned their next task for this week. This new task, set up through the Northwest Building and Trades Commission, is focused on helping the local community through a program known as “Little Free Libraries”. The interns were mixed up into new teams and assigned the new task of building and placing a “Little Free Library” somewhere within the Rockford community. Each team will be judged on the quality of their unit, as well as the location, and the amount of books they collect. For more information on the Little Free Library program, go to...

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Intern Challenge 2014 – The Heat is On!

Onto week three of the YMCA Intern Challenge, but first a re-cap of week two. The contestants, assigned with the tasks of selling tickets, as well as developing new marketing strategies for the Rockford Aviators baseball team put their best feet forward in order to achieve victory. Team Torrent, lead by team leader Levi Johnston, came into the board room prepared with many new strategies for marketing the Aviators, mainly focused on the social media aspect. They were well equipped with relevant data in their presentation, and also included a catchy music video that featured Aviators’ mascot, “Rocko” which parodied off of the hit song “Happy”. Team Progression (formerly team surprise), lead by Jacob Trotter, followed with a similar approach to their marketing strategy, emphasizing the social media aspect, and including a video featuring Rocko. They placed emphasis on connecting with some of the main local sponsors of the Aviators, and created an interactive campaign involving competition between Rocco and “Arvee Eagle” of Rock Valley College. Although similar, their visions were very different, and the board of judges had to decide which team’s ideas were more marketable as well as realistic. Personnel from the Rockford Aviators were impressed with the new strategies and ideas from both teams, but in the end there could only be one winner. After long deliberation, the judges decided that team Torrent had sealed the victory with their new ideas, organization, and well-constructed presentation. After meeting with the losing team (Progression), and letting a team member go, the competitors were introduced to their next task. For week three, the competitors were assigned the duty of finding new donors and collecting donations for the YMCA with a goal of $2500 per team as part of a YMCA initiative. As part of this challenge, competitors were promised that if they collectively reached the $5000 mark in donations received, that there would be no eliminations in the upcoming board...

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Intern Challenge 2014

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is currently seeking high school and college students to join us for the third year of our unique Intern Challenge program.  This is a fun, challenging and fast-paced introduction to the professional fields of non-profit, business, marketing, health care and many others. Loosely based on the hit series The Apprentice, this program was designed to engage the area’s students by challenging them to complete nine weeks worth of challenges and projects, which range from fundraising and raising awareness for a cause to creating business and marketing plans for some of Rockford’s leading establishments. In the past two years of the program we have hosted 30 student participants, each of which have gained a unique experience working with executives and leaders of local organizations and businesses.  Networking, professional development, friendships and college scholarships have been just some of the results of the program, and this year we are offering a new incentive for students, a $100/week stipend for the length of the participants time in the program.  But here is when the real challenge begins: each week a participant or two from the “losing” team is removed from the program or, in other words, fired.  This process plays out until there are only a few participants left, who will compete for these three prizes: 1st Place: $1,5000 college scholarship and a paid internship with the YMCA 2nd Place: $1,000 college scholarship 3rd Place: $500 college scholarship Interested students aged 16-25 should visit http://www.rockriverymca.org/intern-challenge/  for more information, and to download an application. You may also request more information by emailing internchallenge@rockriverymca.org.  We are holding two more information session/auditions for the challenge at the following locations: May 22 , 4:30pm – Northeast Family YMCA (8451 Orth Rd, Loves Park) May 31, 10:00am – I.D. Pennock Family YMCA (200 Y Blvd, Rockford) We highly encourage all students who are interested in getting hands-on professional experience to attend one of this informative meetings. The program begins June 9 and lasts until August 8. I will leave you with a testimonial from the winner of last year’s Intern Challenge, Alex Orput: “The Intern Challenge kick started the development of my professional self and helped me become much more self-aware. I have grown to understand who I am personally and professionally because the Intern Challenge pushed, challenged and developed me in both areas…This is an invaluable crash-course life experience that is irreplaceable and unmatched in growth and development; it took a lot of time, attention, and hard-work, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Read more: http://blogs.e-rockford.com/mikebrown/2014/05/20/students-compete-for-scholarship-dollars-and-paid-internship-ymcas-3rd-annual-intern-challenge/#ixzz32NQG0nay Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Follow us: @rrstar on Twitter | rockfordregisterstar on...

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Students, Compete for Scholarship Dollars and Paid Internship! YMCA’s 3rd Annual Intern Challenge

The YMCA of Rock River Valley is currently seeking high school and college students to join us for the third year of our unique Intern Challenge program.  This is a fun, challenging and fast-paced introduction to the professional fields of non-profit, business, marketing, health care and many others. Loosely based on the hit series The Apprentice, this program was designed to engage the area’s students by challenging them to complete nine weeks worth of challenges and projects, which range from fundraising and raising awareness for a cause to creating business and marketing plans for some of Rockford’s leading establishments. In the past two years of the program we have hosted 30 student participants, each of which have gained a unique experience working with executives and leaders of local organizations and businesses.  Networking, professional development, friendships and college scholarships have been just some of the results of the program, and this year we are offering a new incentive for students, a $100/week stipend for the length of the participants time in the program.  But here is when the real challenge begins: each week a participant or two from the “losing” team is removed from the program or, in other words, fired.  This process plays out until there are only a few participants left, who will compete for these three prizes: 1st Place: $1,5000 college scholarship and a paid internship with the YMCA 2nd Place: $1,000 college scholarship 3rd Place: $500 college scholarship Interested students aged 16-25 should visit http://www.rockriverymca.org/intern-challenge/  for more information, and to download an application. You may also request more information by emailing internchallenge@rockriverymca.org.  We are holding two more information session/auditions for the challenge at the following locations: May 22 , 4:30pm – Northeast Family YMCA (8451 Orth Rd, Loves Park) May 31, 10:00am – I.D. Pennock Family YMCA (200 Y Blvd, Rockford) We highly encourage all students who are interested in getting hands-on professional experience to attend one of this informative meetings. The program begins June 9 and lasts until August 8. I will leave you with a testimonial from the winner of last year’s Intern Challenge, Alex Orput: “The Intern Challenge kick started the development of my professional self and helped me become much more self-aware. I have grown to understand who I am personally and professionally because the Intern Challenge pushed, challenged and developed me in both areas…This is an invaluable crash-course life experience that is irreplaceable and unmatched in growth and development; it took a lot of time, attention, and hard-work, but I would do it again in a...

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Should YOU be the Leader, Lead by Example, A Shift in Power

Lead By Example, A Shift in Power “The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires” – William Arthur Ward While most of us have a concept of leadership, our view of how leaders behave is skewed among each of us whom judge.  I am a believer that defined, experienced and dedicated leaders are those that Lead by Example.  The concept of “Leading by Example” sounds simplistic, but in the end is of the most complicated characteristics of any leader.  It is always easier to point fingers, pass responsibility, accountability and to direct others to do things differently.  The real shift in power for leaders who lead by example is they give the power to those that follow.  Let’s think of some examples where this leadership strategy can work. First and foremost, lets look at the make up of the mother and father at home.  If mom or dad are fighters, or if there is not a routine for cleaning the home, or perhaps there is not a loving or nurturing environment, is that leadership over their children going to turn kids toward love, routine, sweetness to others?  Perhaps it is possible for a child to overcome the flaws of their in-home leaders, but we all know that when we see the fight of the child, we don’t have to look much further at “who” is leading them to know where they get it.  Parents who teach their children by shifting segments of power back to the kids like decision making over household rules, meals, homework, etc. will teach children how to be leaders themselves.  When we empower our children to work through problems, take time to communicate and listen, we give children the meaning of real “power” and in return create strong leaders. In the professional world it can work similarly as, leaders are required to set an example on a regular basis, but fail all too often.  Just like the parents in the household leaders have to set examples that they expect from those who are working with them.  Leaders in our history have risen and fallen, usually through tough ethical decisions that caused a great deal of burden on those who followed.  As leaders, we all have made mistakes in our lives, the key is, did we learn from it?  Will we repeat it?  Will we teach it?  I am not claiming that as leaders we can always be perfect, but I do believe that we must possess the qualities of an “example” that others respect.  Good leaders duplicate themselves, they teach others, and they shift their power to the people in the field which allows for new ideas, expanded vision and opportunities for growth. In my work, I describe my own inner circle of leadership and have commented to my team that I can only have people working with me who are teachable, take initiative, remain loyal, are disciplined and have positive relational skills.  These five qualities are not an option for the teams I work with and in order to receive it as a leader, I must give it as well.  I have made many decisions surrounding people in my 20 years of YMCA work and I know today, through my own failures and successes, that success...

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