Being homeschooled this year gives me the unique chance to both study and have a flexible schedule. And it allows me to do things that I wouldn’t necessarily have an opportunity for in regular school. So my parents and I decided that it would be interesting to find some internship opportunities during the school year that I could do whenever it suited me.
One internship that we’re looking at involves teaching young people, often in at-risk situations, about growing food. But that one doesn’t start until the spring. So we got in touch with Camp Alleghany’s Assistant Director Elizabeth Shreckhise (it’s nice that the winter office for Camp Alleghany is here in my town of Staunton, Virginia) to see if she had any needs that an eager high-schooler (and now camp alum) like me could do for Camp Alleghany. And yay, she did!
I’m so happy that my current internship is with Camp Alleghany, because I get to acquire work experience and help out with my favorite place on earth! And, it just so happens that this particular internship is creative, educational, and fun!
The internship began with a coffee date with Elizabeth, where we sorted out the details of what I was going to do over the next several months. The internship is titled, “Historical Photo Archive Preservation and Marketing Outreach.” The main things that I do are to compile nearly a century worth of photographs into new photo albums; I also attend recruiting events.
Elizabeth and her mother, Bonnie Dawson (Head of Special Events at camp), had previously sorted all of the old photos of camp into decades knowing that they wanted to have a photo book for each decade to have at camp fairs, parties, and recruiting events, as well as on site at camp for visitors and campers to see.
My first assignment was to create the first photo book — of the 1930’s — to get this next phase of the project rolling. For me this meant I would have to figure out how to work a photo editing application, in this case, iPhoto. I was nervous at this thought because I hadn’t had much experience with these kind of computer programs in the past. But it proved to be much easier than anticipated.
Elizabeth already had the photos burned to CDs, so all I had to do was download the photos into iPhoto and begin the album. She also let me take the actual old photos with me so that I could look at them up close if I was having trouble making out something on iPhoto. (That part has been awesome because not every photo is being chosen for the books but I get to still look at them all. Seriously, I could pour over these pictures all day!)
In making the photo albums, the first step is to choose a theme, which is actually harder than you’d think. Not just because there are so many cool choices in iPhoto, but also because I felt a lot of self-imposed pressure because this would be the background of the album, the basis of it. Elizabeth is always so nice to me and gave me a lot of creative freedom but still I thought, “What if she hates it?”
Eventually I found a theme that I really liked, and so I started on the actual photo sorting. I chose a cover picture, and then organized the other photos into the various places, activities, and other categories that make up camp. I can choose to put several shots on a page, or use a really large one and let it fill up a page. I can do close ups, cropping, and captions all to help “tell the story” of camp across the last 100 years.
I’ve been given a month to work on each album from home and then I meet with Elizabeth once a month to turn in the latest album for her approval and feedback. We’ve only had one of these meetings so far but fortunately my pressure and fears were soothed — she does have clear expectations for me to meet but happily she liked what I did for the 1930s album and went ahead and saved it to be printed and shipped to her — I can’t wait to see it in person!
Meet and greet
We also plan to talk about what role I’ll play in camp marketing events and she’ll train and coach me on how to work with the public at these events to share the story of being a camper. There are lots of events coming up so check the schedule, bring a friend, and maybe I’ll see you there.
All in all, so far I’m really enjoying the internship, and can’t wait to create more albums and attend recruiting events!
–Chloë-Ester Cook, Alum & Intern, Camp Alleghany for Girls