Students compete for scholarships in YMCA Intern Challenge


Mentoring and training the younger generation in our community is the goal of the YMCA Intern Challenge. Now in its seventh year, the event is designed to give local high school and college students the chance to discover local career opportunities through a fun and engaging format.

Students competing in the YMCA Intern Challenge meet their fellow contestants at Camp Winnebago. The first week will be spent doing team-building activities, then it’s on to project challenges.

“Each week, a student has an opportunity to engage in a challenge that will tap into their gifts and abilities,” said Brent Pentenburg, the CEO of the YMCA of the Rock River Valley.

The challenges are designed to expose students to various career opportunities.

“Maybe this experience will help me gain or know more about other fields,” said student Ariadna Hernandez. “That way I can have a better idea of where I could fit, or where I would enjoy being in a career.”

Participants go through a series of projects with local schools, businesses and non-profits.

“I hope to get a better understanding of different fields and get an experience and find, kind of, what I’d like to do, maybe a career path,” said student Maddie Flaherty.

Each week, a contestant is eliminated. The remaining contestants have the opportunity to win a college scholarship and a paid internship with the YMCA. 

Students are excited about the opportunity to experience a different career field each week.

“I just want to get more out there,” said student Naomi Solis-Campos. “I was told that a lot of new experiences are made. And every week, there’s a different thing you do, so I just want to gain more knowledge of things.”

Pentenburg added, “Hopefully, but the end of summer, that student, whether high school or college student, has an idea or a better understanding of what they’re passionate about and what their true [gifts] are.”

There are scholarships for second and third place, as well as chances to win weekly bonuses. 

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