‘I love being able to help others’
Jordana Milne shares why she 'lives & breathes' Mini U
When asked about Mini U Programs, Jordana Milne’s face lights up like a glow-in-the-dark dodgeball. When she is not busy playing volleyball or completing her masters in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo, the two-time national champion lives and breathes Mini U. She aims to have as big of an impact on it as it has had on her. Jordana shares more about why she’s so passionate about spending her summers at Mini U.
Who: Jordana Milne [BRMCD/17]
Position at Mini U: Senior supervisor
If you could do any camp at Mini U what would it be: Outdoor Adventures or Outdoor Explorers
Favourite snack: Granola Bars
Favourite hobby: Volleyball
Q: How long have you been a supervisor?
This is my fifth summer at Mini U and third summer as a supervisor.
Q: What are the Senior Supervisor responsibilities?
I’m currently responsible for organizing and planning the leadership camps we have at Mini U such as Leading with Lego, Outdoor Explorers and Adventures, Superheroes, and Becoming a Mini U Leader. I’m primarily reviewing curriculums for those camps and seeing where we can improve. My position is also responsible for busing, so I’m familiarizing myself with that process. This year I also have a larger role with planning an executing the classroom leader orientation. In the summer, I’ll be responsible for all of the senior staff as well.
Q: What is your favourite part about being a supervisor?
I love being able to help others. I also love that we’re provided with an opportunity to really do our thing. The coordinators have a lot of trust in us, so we feel like we can really go for it in a safe environment without being afraid of making mistakes. We’re constantly being challenged to be better and progress every single day. There is always something to learn. I feel really lucky for the professional development opportunities here at Mini U. The Coordinators genuinely care about us as people and invest in our success. They want to help us improve our communication skills, our interpersonal skills, how to have challenging discussions, how to lead staff and so much more. Every year we review and refine all of these skills, and continually work on progressing to be the best people, employees, and leaders we can be. Its also just fun. It’s like hanging out with your best friends every day. We spend a lot of time together, it is so fun and so rewarding, and that’s why I keep coming back.
Q: What do you think is the hardest part about being a supervisor?
Sometimes it’s hard being away from the kids. Being a leader is a ton of fun because you get to have fun with the kids all day. While being a supervisor is so amazing, sometimes I miss hanging out with the kids all day, but seeing our hard work as supervisors pay off makes it worth it.
Q: What do you spend your time doing before the children come to camp in July?
It’s all about the prep work. If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Were just making sure we’re ready for anything and everything. We’re participating in workshops as a team to help us learn how to be effective leaders of leaders. We’re learning how to work well together as a group of supervisors in order to support our own staff and execute our own tasks effectively. We’re also working hard to make sure our own respective areas are taken care of, so for example I do the leadership camps and busing, so I’m making sure all of those areas are taken care of. We all do a great job of owning our business.
Q: Think back to your very first day as a supervisor. How did you feel?
I was so nervous. I looked up to the supervisor team a lot. It felt like such an honor to be there. I knew all of the supervisors were so talented at what they do. It was certainly intimidating at first. But the best part was everyone was so welcoming. Immediately everyone wanted to hang out and be best friends. I hope I can help pass that on to future generations of supervisors too. As far as the job goes, I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work. I didn’t know if I necessarily had what it takes to lead the amazing leaders we have at Mini U. There was a little bit of hesitation there, but I was just excited to be in that environment and learn from the coordinators.
Q: How do you feel now?
I feel more confident. In my first summer as a supervisor, I always needed reassurance I was doing something right or doing a good job. Over the last three years, however, I’ve learned that the coordinators really trust us and we know even if we make mistakes we’ll review it, learn from it, and do it better the next time. I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to trust your gut and do the best you can and it usually turns out pretty good. To be in a place I thrive in and where I feel confident feels amazing.
Q: What advice would you give to a first year supervisor?
Trust your gut and go for it. You’re in an environment where everyone is going to support you. If you go for it full force and make a little mistake, its cool, we got you. Have fun, enjoy every minute, and work hard. There’s time crunches and crazy deadlines and you have to get stuff done, and you will. Just trust yourself and your team.
Q: If you look back on your experiences at Mini U, is there one moment that sticks out to you in having a big impact on you?
I remember my first leader week. I walked in and one of the coordinators was shamelessly busting a move on stage. I thought it was hilarious. The music was loud, it was energetic and I think everyone was nervous, but people were so friendly. The nerves went away immediately. I also remember small moments where my coordinators and supervisors approached me to tell me I was killing it in my position. It felt so good to get positive feedback from people who I looked up to immensely. So many small moments of magic throughout my years at Mini U stick out to me as influential in my success as not only a supervisor, but also as a person.