“I began working at the YMCA Camp Ponterril in 1997 when I first moved to Pittsfield.  I didn’t know anyone here and a family member turned me on to the Y summer camp as a potential job.  I was a 19-year-old (soon to be) college sophomore at that time studying English/Communications.  All I wanted to do was be in radio and television.

“I had always enjoyed mentoring and working with children, and the YMCA summer job really allowed me to find my true calling in life.  I really took to working with children in this new professional capacity.  I worked with Unit 2 children (children entering the 2nd grade in the fall) and loved every minute of it.  The job also helped me make many great friends that I still stay in touch with to this day.  Parents began asking me what I was going to college for and suggested that I go into education.  I took this as a massively wonderful compliment as I must have been doing something right.  I did, in fact, take on another major in college and entered the education program at (at that time) North Adams State College.  I stuck with the program and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s in English/Communication as well as Education.  I then went on to work at the downtown YMCA gaining experience in all age levels honing my skills and building my experience.  My last role at the YMCA was the off-site before and after-school Program leader at Egremont Elementary School.  I later went back to the newly named MCLA for my Master’s in Education.  I may have found my way to education in the end, however, it cannot be denied that through the summer camp job and positive parent comments and compliments that I was definitely encouraged and pushed in that direction.

“The Y was a very positive vehicle which helped me realize my passion.  I later became an elementary school teacher at Conte’s Community School for 7 years, then I became the principal of Allendale Elementary School for 5.5 years and I am now the COO (Chief Operations Officer) of a financial training company where I am still using my experience in education writing curriculum and crafting trainings for adults.

“The Pittsfield Family YMCA has had a very positive impact on my life, so much so to the point where my daughter has been involved with the Y from the infant/toddler room (daycare) all the way to being in a before and after-school program (Williams Elementary School).  She is also on the Polar Bears Swim Team as well.”

– Carl Ameen