Summary of the Summer

I know I’ve talked about my internship a lot this summer, but that’s because it has taken up a lot of my life and time this summer. This is the last in-depth post about it though, I promise.

Thursday was my last day, and you would expect a last day to be light and easy right? Wrong! I did not work Wednesday, so on Thursday I had quite a few evaluations turned in.

Before I continue, I should probably explain what those evaluations are for. At the end of the summer, my boss (who is in charge of the entire education program and all summer camps) writes a summary of the summer camp program, including demographic information, overview of the camps, and feedback from parents, staff, and director.

At the beginning of the summer, there were two other interns in the same position. However, one of the interns was on vacation the week I started, and the other wasn’t supposed to start until June. Okay no problem. The first few weeks were fine, but a little slow. In fact, in my second week of being there, I was teaching a workshop/demonstration about earthquakes. I also went shopping with my boss for some camp supplies. I got to design a bunch of pots, and then I got to smash them with a mallet. (and for all my other Disney fans out there, yes I did say hold the mallet and say “And when it arrives, ah-HA-HA, I’ll smash it with my hammer!!!”). I also had to cut 225 pieces of cardboard to three different dimensions (6×6, 7×7, and 9×6). I had some other small projects, but those were the biggest ones.

Then camp started. By this point, I had met Ian, one of the other interns in the same position as me. He and I were both working the first camp, Diggin’ IN, which was archaeology themed. You never really know what to expect with the first camp, and that was so true. While the office work was somewhat tedious (checking and filing registrations for campers and any other thing need to be done), working with the kids as a counselor or even a leader was exhausting yet exhilarating. They wore me out, but it just showed me that I knew I was in the right profession. The joy of being with the kids was all worthwhile. During that week, I also met Abbie, the third intern in the same position.

After that first week of camp, I went to Florida so I missed both of those camps. However, it is a general rule that you don’t work two camps back to back, so it wasn’t a big deal. That week, I missed the first Culinary Arts Camp and Fashion Runway, which took place at the same time. I came back from Florida and I was not in the next camp, Frontier Survivor. So I was in the office, but a couple days, I did go take pictures for the camp.

That Friday morning, the last day of Frontier, my boss pulled me aside into the education workroom. She goes, “You’re not in trouble, but I want to make you aware of a situation.” I was very nervous what she was going to tell me, thinking I had done something wrong or inappropriate. But she told me instead that Abbie had quit. Now as Ian was working Frontier, and as it was another two-camp week coming up, my boss had exhausted pretty much every option. I was supposed to work in the second Culinary camp, and Abbie was supposed to help in Eco-Explorers Camp (nature-themed). They were also short-staffed, because the museum had expected to hire someone as well by this point. My boss told me that and then proceeds to tell me I was working both camps that coming week. In telling people this, a lot of people asked if I was going to be running back and forth between the camps. No, that wasn’t the case. I worked in Eco-Explorers Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then, on Thursday and Friday, I helped out with Eco-Explorers. The Eco kids went to Eagle Creek Discovery Center on Thursday and Friday, so I didn’t have to worry about them.

That week was so hectic. I was super excited about Culinary camp, and so unprepared for Eco Explorers. At any given time in the first three days, I was in charge of 9 or 10 kids by myself. While I had worked a camp before, this was the first time I was a sole counselor. I was blessed to have a great group of kids that week on my team. We went on hikes each day so they could kinda see and immerse themselves in nature. The first day, the hike I took my group on did not go as well as planned. It wasn’t bad, it just could’ve been better. The next day, we walked over to Military Park. While there were a few trails through it, I decided that instead I would just turn my group loose. Since it was early and there weren’t many people, I didn’t think it would be a problem. I just told them to stay in sight and in my voice range (which is a lot). They did just what I asked, and I never had to get on to them. Towards the end of the hike, the boys started getting a little farther away than I was comfortable enough, so I walked nonchalantly towards them. They weren’t in trouble or anything. But then, the girls ran towards the boys, so they were all together. However, when I called, they all came and were ready to return to the museum. I told them I was proud of them, and I meant it.

Culinary camp had been the one I was looking forward to the most. However, once I finally got to do it, Culinary had such a different dynamic than the other two camps. Not that it was bad, I enjoyed it, but it just ended up being third on my list of favorites. I ate delicious food and got to bond with the campers.

The next week was Fashion Runway 2.0 (more advanced, whereas the second culinary camp was the same material), which my boss was actually the director of. It was a slow week for me. The following week was July 4, and my boss told me to only come in Thursday and Friday that week. I helped to prepare for Build It camp starting that Monday, which is architecture themed.

Build It was the last camp I helped out with, and my favorite. We learned about so much architecture, and it was so cool to watch the kids apply what they had learned. The kids even got to build a cardboard house (hence all the cardboard I cut). I even still look at buildings and point out what type of architecture they are.

The last two camps were Science Behind the Circus and CSI. Circus camp was for a younger group, and CSI, well, CSI was rough. I did not help with either of these camps, but I heard that both had some problems. With circus camp, the majority of the campers were 6 year olds, and some of the activities were too advanced. In CSI camp, one of the campers was very disruptive, had behavioral issues, and would get in fights with other campers and staff alike.

I could regale you with stories from every camp for a really long time. I told you all about each camp because that was the purpose of the summary. Each week, parents/children, staff, and directors would be encouraged to fill out a survey, basically giving their feedback. Each week I wasn’t in camp, it was my job to compile all the evaluations into a Word document. During circus camp, (so three weeks to the end), I was shown how that data was to be transferred to the summary report. Once I had finished with the evaluations that I had at the time, my boss had me compile all the demographic information we had collected to transfer into the summary report as well. My favorite comment on an evaluation was from a staff during CSI camp. The question asked, “What, if any, challenges did you experience in camp?” and this staff member just wrote, “Lord have mercy…” Obviously it was a reference to the behaviorally challenged child, but it still cracked me up.

It wasn’t until my last day that I finished my portion of the summary. Ian did a portion of it too, and my boss put the finishing touches on it. But my portion, especially the evaluations, ended up being 89 pages. The demographic information was another 3-4, so I definitely think I organized the largest portion. I have no problem with it. I may not have gotten paid this summer, and it may have been more exhausting than I care to admit, but I enjoy working hard. I enjoyed doing a work that I knew I was proud of. I ended up logging around 260 hours this summer, and in my eyes, it was all worth it.

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