Written by Katelyn Seiferman and Ruva Sharara
In the summer of 2022, Ever Active Schools (EAS) was fortunate enough to hire two summer students through the Canada Summer Jobs program – Katelyn Seiferman joined us in Edmonton and Ruva Sharara in Calgary. We asked them to share their experiences working with EAS and how it will support their unique journeys in education and employment.
Katelyn: I started my adventure with Ever Active Schools (EAS) at the start of June as a Project Administration Officer, and oh boy, did the past 12 weeks fly by. My experience has been unlike any job I’ve had before but in the best way! The team here at EAS has been so welcoming and eager to help me learn and to engage me in exciting projects right from the get-go.
When I started in June, I was eager to see what work lay ahead of me. I soon recognized that every day was different, and every day I was learning something new. After the first few weeks, I was able to find a rhythm to my daily schedule, and the work I was doing became more familiar – yet still exciting.
I love to learn, and this job enabled me to do just that! I came into this position with a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree under my belt and intentions of becoming a teacher, so with EAS I was able to find a great middle ground. I utilized the knowledge and experience gained from my undergrad to lead my work, and I was also able to learn about the education sector and all the supports that are available to teachers. Being able to combine two of my passions really allowed me to get the most out of the work I was doing.
Ruva: As a recent graduate with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary, I wanted to continue using my knowledge and training to promote health and wellness in my community. Throughout the summer, I’ve been able to do exactly that while working at Ever Active Schools.
Each project I’ve undertaken has not only allowed me to contribute to new spaces but has also allowed me to challenge myself and develop new skills. The EAS team has been incredibly supportive, connecting me to projects where my strengths would be helpful. The team always encouraged me in each new venture I pursued.
Program Involvement & Learnings
Katelyn: I started off my summer attending an EAS In Residence program. With this program I was able to facilitate activities using EAS resources and create connections with staff and administrators in the education sector. In the following weeks I attended more projects, such as AMA Youth Run Clubs, active school travel initiatives, professional learning opportunities, credit camps, and Braided Journeys. With these programs, I gained experience leading warmups and promoting active travel in schools and communities, and I learned about traditional games and fostering intercultural communication.
Ruva: At EAS, I had the privilege to work on various projects promoting health and well-being for children and youth. A few of these projects included Land-back, the Youth Advisory Council and the Youth Wellness Leadership Certificate:
- I helped conduct a focus group on the Land-back project with a group of high school students in the Siksika Nation. The student experiences included tipi-harvesting and speaking in the traditional Blackfoot language, a powerful and rare opportunity in school.
- I co-facilitated several Youth Wellness Leader Certificate training courses. I also picked up some new moves, like how to do an impressive turtle spin, which I’ll be sure to pull out next time I hit the dance floor. I learned a lot from working with the different groups.
- Finalizing the details for a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for EAS was a great experience that challenged me to think critically about how I could use my skills to contribute. We had a lot of fun getting creative and coming up with cool swag bag ideas! Reflecting upon my first experiences seeking a job, there weren’t many opportunities to learn job skills like resume building. This led me to consider how else students could apply for the YAC. Some ideas included video submissions, long essays and slide show presentations. I learned a whole lot about the value of personal experiences and how they could be used to help others.
Katelyn: I must give a shout-out to the entire team at EAS! Right away, since my first week, my co-workers were willing to meet with me to learn about who I am and discover how they could best support my goals and what I wanted to get out of this job experience. This organization really highlights the importance of employee wellness by supporting and planning team bonding activities to get us out of the office, which is something I valued. It’s cheesy to say, but teamwork really does make the dream work.
Ruva: Working with the EAS team, I’ve learned that having fun is a major part of the job. Alongside reporting and analysis, meetings were filled with laughter, games, and the occasional weasel passing –a game where the goal is to find who’s holding the weasel or, in our case, the rubber chicken. I will continue pursuing opportunities where I can use the skills and experiences acquired from EAS to promote health and wellness in my community.