“This is where God wants me right now,” says Rebecca a current youth care worker who has been in this position for the past three years.  She graduated from the University of Michigan with a teaching degree in 2009. During Rebecca’s career search she came across an advertisement for a youth care worker in Wisconsin. She applied and was hired on.

“I live with the guys and teach them social skills. I will tell them they need to shower. Remind them to chew with their mouth closed. Admonish them when they swear and tell them to keep the conversion appropriate.”  She continued, “On an average day, I get up with the guys and make sure they are ready for school, eat breakfast with them and walk them to school. When needed, I take them to doctor’s appointments and court hearings. When school is done, we all eat dinner together like a family. After dinner, I help them with homework and talk to them about their day.”

A day in the life of a youth care worker is not a normal 8-hour work day. Their day starts before the sun comes up and ends after the sun goes down. Youth care workers are live-in positions, which means they live in the homes 24/7 with the troubled youth who call Rawhide home. In addition to two or three youth care workers in each home, there is a married couple known as houseparents who act as the parental figures. “It’s important to remember that we always have support from the living unit staff and from the other youth care workers. They are a very strong, supportive group and they become your best friends because they know what it’s like, and they are the only ones who really understand,” Rebecca says.

The youth care workers are looked at as the “big brother” or “big sister” to the guys. They provide the guys with stability, social and moral values, encouragement, and spiritual guidance. Additionally, youth care workers must have a strong personal commitment to Biblical values and demonstrate this in their life. This position isn’t for everyone; it is physically, mentally and spiritually challenging; however its reward is greater than its challenges.

“Life with the guys is a learning curve, as each guy handles things differently. There is no right answer or a certain way to do things,” says Rebecca.  “My favorite part of the job is when you have been praying for them for a long time and there is some event or something in their life that happens and the light switch just turns on and either they accept Christ or they become open to him when they weren’t open before,” she said with a huge smile on her face.

Youth care workers get to have a lot of fun with the guys and share in their new experiences.  “We get a lot of guys who have not experienced the basic fun things; canoeing, fishing, sledding, and just being a kid,” Rebecca states. “It is exciting to see them let loose and have fun.”

Being a youth care worker isn’t always easy, but is a rewarding and fulfilling job. Rebecca says that she has learned a lot about herself by being a youth care worker, “I’ve learned to be more self-confident; I’ve become more assertive and most importantly, I understand what it means to love unconditionally.” A youth care worker is a supportive, strong, spiritual leader who encourages the guys to become responsible young men that live a healthy and responsible life.

Are you up to the challenge of becoming our next youth care worker?

Do you want more information? Learn more.