by Anagha, Day-Riverside Teen Squad
Hello everyone. My name is Anagha Rao and I was a participant in Teen Squad 2020. At first, I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t even think I would get in. I applied for the Day-Riverside branch just because I wanted a productive way to spend my time this summer.
However, I ended up learning numerous useful skills that I use everyday. In Teen Squad, we had the opportunity to create a library-related project of our choice to make the library better. At first, I didn't have any ideas, and it felt intimidating to initiative a project. But, I received tons of support from the librarians and my Teen Squad group during our regular Zoom meetings to discuss ideas and make friends. The project I chose was a 30-day fitness challenge to help encourage people to stay active during the pandemic. I began by preparing the materials and planning out the logistics of the program (how many days it would last, how would people complete it, etc.) Since many of the libraries were closed, I had to find creative solutions to making sure that the challenge was virtual. I found that the library’s BiblioBoard was a great way to market my project to the public and encourage people to participate. I also learned a lot about working digitally and using different software like Zoom, Google Forms, and many more. The amazing thing about Teen Squad is that I was able to commit 2 hours a week or 10 hours a week, depending on my schedule. This is why Teen Squad is a great summer activity, even if you have other extracurriculars going on.
Another skill I learned was presenting. At the end of the program, we presented our projects to the other participants. But don’t be intimidated by that! As long as I prepared once, it was easy to share my ideas, and everyone in Teen Squad was very supportive. I was inspired to hear about all the different projects teens in Utah have created in order to make the library a better place.
My Teen Squad project was the Step Up Challenge. It is a 30-day fitness challenge to encourage teens to stay active during the pandemic. If you want to participate in the basic challenge, you would log any fitness activity everyday either by steps, time spent exercising, or distance walked. There is also an additional Bingo challenge where teens can challenge themselves to try different types of activities to stay healthy. Every time you complete a challenge, you cross it off and try to get a Bingo or a blackout. Lastly, there is a Healthy Habits challenge that encourages teens to practice other healthy habits such as eating fruits and vegetables or staying away from screens. In order to participate, you must go onto the library’s BiblioBoard and print out the packet.
At the end, it was an incredible accomplishment to have started your very own library-related project, and I was happy that I took that step to apply. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about applying to give it a shot because it is an incredibly rewarding experience.
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