Penn College, YMCA connection provides teens with opportunity to explore college life

A connection between Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Williamsport Branch YMCA allowed area teens to participate in a series of workshops exploring college life this summer.

The FIRST (Fostering Individuality, Respect, Success and Teamwork) program of the Williamsport YMCA provides a free after-school program and summer camp to area teens. The program provides a supervised setting where teens have positive adult mentors, access to recreation, homework assistance and leadership opportunities.

The four-part workshop series exposed FIRST participants to programs and opportunities available to them at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Students kicked off the series with a tour of the Penn College campus and an introduction from Patrick McCabe in admissions. Student ambassadors, Alex Wetzel and Dan Kreger showed FIRST participants around the campus, giving an overview of programs and degrees available at Penn College.

In the second session, professor of automotive technology, Eric Pruden, led students on a hands-on tour of the automotive technology lab. Students were able to explore various components of the lab, while Pruden fielded questions about jobs in the field of automotive technology. Dr. Craig Miller, a historian in the school of sciences, humanities and visual communications, gave students a glimpse of course-work in the humanities with a lesson on civic activism and the Civil Rights movement in the third workshop.

Rounding out the workshop series was a lesson from Pat Scheib and Melissa Stocum in the Academic Success Center. Students participated in an interactive workshop exploring themes of personal responsibility, self-motivation, self-management and interdependence. Scheib and Stocum encouraged FIRST students to start thinking about behaviors and actions that will help them to succeed in the high school setting and later the collegiate setting.

In all four workshops FIRST participants from the Williamsport Branch YMCA were given the opportunity to experience a college setting and were encouraged to envision themselves in that setting. FIRST programming provides assistance in goal setting and leadership development, two main focuses in this series of workshops.