Career Connections

Heather Raver

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Exercise ScienceSecondary minor: Athletic Coaching

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: IA - Iowa

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Des Moines Area YMCA
Company/Organization website:
Title: Group Fitness Instructor
Destination: Ankeny/John Grubb
Timeframe: 01/16-05/16

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
My responsibilities during the internship were to educate older active adults, teach group fitness classes, host an annual health fair, and assist wherever needed within the organization. I took on extra duties such as teaching an after school program as a Water Safety Coordinator and taught swim lessons and water safety to kids grades 3-5 grade. I worked with school liaisons to set the program up between schools.

I accomplished...
The successes I have had were growing classes from 12-24. Watching older adults enjoy exercising. Taking on other roles with the after school programs and watching kids not pass the pre test of either swimming or nutrition to passing with high flying colors after 5 weeks.

My most valuable effort...
I would have to say the most valuable project I worked on was teaching group fitness classes. To me this is the meat of the reason why I am in fitness. Working with the older active adults and pushing them to show them they are not old..the just have a higher number but can still work out just as hard as the younger folks in a different capacity. Seeing the camaraderie between the adults and watching them enjoy each other and have fun in class is the biggest reward.

I learned...
Assisting with a new hire to teach classes. I was able to take the class and really see what it is like on the other side and how I would want someone to help guide me in the direction to become a better instructor. This helped me to educate her on the things she could improve on and what it is like if you take a step back and look at the entire room. How can you modify? Who needs more guidance and direction? Helping to put out what she doesn't see from the front.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience I have is seeing the smiles from the participants that take my classes. Those to me are the most lasting impressions and memories.

A surprising discovery...
When you go through training to teach active older adults classes they tell you it is going to be your favorite class to teach. I didn't believe them, but in reality it has become my passion to educate older active adults and to push them into different realms of exercise, health and wellness. I have found that I push harder to come up with new ways to teach class, use tools, and have fun for everyone involved.

Advice for others...
Enjoy what you do. Try every form of fitness and then you will find the one that you truly enjoy and have the most passion for. When you find this then you will succeed to new levels.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
Working at the Y as a Wellness Coach.

I landed this assignment by...
I had spoken with Kristina and really wanted to do my internship within the field of group fitness. We discussed what could be done and I said yes please.

I wanted this experience because...
I love group fitness! I enjoy coaching others and teaching new formats of fitness. The position is always changing and you must keep up with the trends, fads and all different types of certifications to keep your classes growing and members interested.

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