Each summer, new B-SAFE JCITs (Junior Counselors-in-Training) find their way to St. Stephen’s Youth Programs. The JCIT Program is a paid internship for rising ninth graders who seek opportunities for growth, increased leadership skills and work experience throughout the summer and school year.
During the first week of B-SAFE, JCITs stepped outside their comfort zone on Thompson Island thanks to Outward Bound. After taking a boat out to the island in the Boston Harbor, JCITs participated in various team-building challenges. Each game or obstacle required cooperation and collective problem-solving, skills that the JCITs would soon get to apply in their youth development work with younger participants in B-SAFE.
The experience on Thompson Island culminated with most formidable event of the day: the Alpine Tower! The Alpine Tower is a 50-foot climbing structure that beckons climbers to take the road less traveled and overcome their fears. Again, for many of the JCITs this experience in Outward Bound applies to life, too, as they regularly have to come over fears of trying something they have never done before, orienting a new volunteer, or talking in front of a group of peers and adults.
One JCIT faced and overcame her fear of heights. As she stood on the pinnacle of the Alpine Tower, the rest of the group shouted up from the ground, "Are you still afraid of heights?" She proudly and emphatically exclaimed back, “NO!”
Every single JCIT in the group of 32 teens took the challenge. Each ninth grader went beyond their personal comfort zone. Their courage and resilience was made evident by their willingness to stretch themselves. All the JCITs described the experience as one they will never forget.
By Julie Clerge, JCIT Coordinator for St. Augustine & St. Martin
Julie Clerge, JCIT Coordinator for St. Augustine and St. Martin, has over a decade of experience as a youth worker. She graduated from Bridgewater State University, earning a Bachelor's degree in social work . Starting this fall, she will be pursuing a Master's of Social Work degree. Julie is passionate about helping young people achieve their highest potential.