BHS grad gears up for job at GTMO Naval Base
Published 10:51 pm Friday, September 25, 2015
Bainbridge native Kelsey Lambert hasn’t had what many would classify as typical post-college experiences.
Last fall, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Lambert was off to the Middle East to intern at a U.S. Navy base in Bahrain, a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
She spent this past summer in Alaska as a nanny and homeschool teacher for a five-year-old. Now, she’s in Key West training for a few months before heading to a job with the Navy Child and Youth Program at the Guantanamo Navy Base in Cuba.
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“We go there and get our hands wet, do observations of the other teachers and see how they work in the classroom. Then we gradually move up to our actual position, which is management apprentices, or lead teacher. We’re in charge of, depending on the size of the center, one to three or four classrooms in a certain age group,” Lambert said. “You’re in charge of organizing, making sure their lesson plans are done, making sure they’re done right, making sure their observations are on track, just kind of medium-tier management.”
Lambert will be in Key West for a minimum of 60 days, but said she expects to be there for a few months training.
A friend of her mom’s gave her the idea of working with the military, specifically in the youth centers on bases, and she started looking into jobs and internships while in college, eventually applying for Purdue University’s Military Extension Program.
“My senior year, I knew it was my last chance, so I applied for it Fall of 2013 and I found out that next spring that I got it,” Lambert said. “I went to work a summer camp and then they flew us down to San Antonio for orientation for a few days, and then they sent us out. I was off to Bahrain.”
Bahrain was her first choice of placement for the new job, because she said she loved the experience and wanted something familiar. Now, the idea of Guantanamo is growing on her.
“When I was telling my granddad about placement sites, when he heard GTMO, he said, ‘Kelsey, if you end up in Cuba, I will come visit you,’” Lambert said. “Once I found out I was going there, I decided to hold him to it. He’s been there before, so I’m definitely going to try to drag him down there.”
Lambert said that while in Cuba, she’ll likely get to help set up the base’s new child development center, which is currently under construction. She admitted she didn’t know a lot about the base before finding out about her placement, but after learning about it, she got a little more excited.
She said the base is pretty big with everything a person could need, even a bowling alley.
“I’m excited that I’m going to be somewhere for longer than three months. I’m excited to get to the management-level stuff and help set up the child development center,” Lambert said. “Hopefully I’ll get to try out some other areas and decide where I ultimately want to go.”