Pros: occasional provided lunches, giveaways, pickup extra hours, benefits
Cons: paperwork, strict administration, inflexibility
I worked shy of a 6 hour day at the YMCA everyday, specifically in their Before and After School programs. I would substitute in the Preschool rooms when the opportunity came up and worked in Summer Camp when the time rolled around. What I found was a caring and dedicated staff under the watchful eyes of dedicated administrators within an impenetrable infrastructure.
The biggest downfall of working at the YMCA was the YMCA itself, their policies and resistance to change and growth. I've been a working ECE for 5 years now and I hate to say that 5 years may be enough for me.
In spite of my experience and my work history, I found that I had to pay YMCA dues to have my thoughts and feelings heard by my superiors and their superiors. That's a challenge, it's a challenge that puts you in a why bother mindset.
During my time at the YMCA, I met some truly wonderful people and interacted with children and families who were confident in the skill that I brought to the table. From the organization itself, I found myself categorized and filed away, another staff member that was interchangeable and disposable.
The most enjoyable part of my day was working with the children, knowing that I was making an indelible impression on those boys and girls. Every day was exciting, every day was a challenge.
I've taken some time to reassess my options but take heed of my words. The YMCA isn't as welcoming as one may think, the people however, the good and decent, always will be.