The day started like any other, but this time it was different because it was the day of Mile High Youth Corps orientation. My heart was beating fast and hard, full of excitement and anxiety. Bright and early I woke up ready for this day but not knowing what was to come, and like everyone else, I expected orientation to be boring and lifeless, little did I know what was awaiting me at MHYC.
Unlike everything else I knew, joining MHYC was the best option and choice I have ever made, but I was still unsure. I needed that kick start, that boost to get me going. I arrived at 1801 Federal Blvd. (the MHYC headquarters) for what was to be the best orientation I have ever been to. As I entered the building 15 minutes early, I found a gentleman awaiting me at the reception; he was an MHYC staff member and a former Corpsmember. He had the widest smile and most gentle character; pleasantly he shook my hand with a lot of enthusiasm and welcomed me in as he guided me to the orientation room where I found young, energetic and bright faces waiting.
The room was quiet as everyone was a stranger to each other and the air was a little bit tense as everyone was trying to get comfortable with the person next to them. But in no time at all, you could hear someone say a word or two to the person next to them as they got to know each other. Little did we know that on this day and in this program we would all make friends and form bonds that may or may not last us a life time.
As orientation was about to start a young lady came and sat by me and immediately she introduced herself. I was confused due to her confidence and friendliness, like any other young person I am not used to that. Even today I remember her name even though we went to different programs. Her name was Jeri. We were all given stickers and told to write our names on them, like any other place with a lot of people we got people with the same names like Colin and Collin as well as two Michaels, but sooner rather than later as we got to know one another we were able to differentiate them.
Soon the orientation began and like all other orientations we were briefed about our different programs and MHYC. The lecture and briefing soon came to an end and we were confused as we were separated and put into different groups. In these groups, to the least of my expectations, we went to play games and activities called ice breakers and energizers, and we all got to know each other even more. We switched from one station to the next and sooner rather than later, I could hear laughter and shouting throughout the building as each group was doing an activity. We had one game that was named the “magic carpet.” Hahahaha, well it literally brought everyone closer.
After these activities, we were back to the orientation room and this time there was more chatting amongst ourselves as everyone had gotten to know each other a little bit better. There were smiles everywhere.
Next there was another lecture session and our intelligence was put to the test. We didn’t disappoint the MHYC staff because we had young and very bright minds that were full of positive attitudes and understanding. No one discouraged anyone’s ideas; instead we embraced each other and tried to understand one another’s point of view. We asked and answered questions and from time to time the staff and ourselves would crack a joke or two.
Obviously like any other society, we had people from different back grounds and cultures. We also had some people being more outspoken and confident than others. One example was a young man who has come to be a good friend of mine, his name is Ron, he brought life to the room from time to time. Unlike what people think and the stereotyping about young people being negative, on this day, I can surely say that this was not the case. Everything was productive and positive.
All in all, this was the best orientation of my life and I am sure everyone else’s that was a part of it. All of this would not have been possible if it was not for the very dedicated staff members of MHYC whom were very kind and patient, as well as us Corpsmembers for embracing the process and being open to it. And of course, I cannot forget management, who has been there for us every step of the way, making sure everything goes smoothly.
-Timothy Muraguri, Water Corpsmember