As I started my freshman year in college, I noticed many people lining up internships for the summer and realized I had absolutely no clue what I would be doing on that front. With COVID on hand, that made things even more uncertain.
As a business management major at James Madison University (JMU), with a concentration in innovation and entrepreneurship, my end goal is to someday own my own business. But I still don’t have an exact plan.
What I did know last fall, though, is that I love Camp Alleghany! I knew that working for ‘Ghany would allow me to gain experience in the business side of camp as well as build communication skills.
An Internship that Works!
So back in the fall of 2020, I decided to reach out to Director Elizabeth Shreckhise and Program Director Casey Tucker to see if they had any internship opportunities. Fortunately they were looking for a staff recruiting intern, and that fit well with my major and my skills.
This internship has offered me opportunities for research, reaching out to potential counselors, and writing blogs with insight into the Camp Alleghany experience both as a camper and counselor.
For research, I was tasked with learning about the sororities at some of our most popular local colleges in order to find groups of young women who might be interested in working at camp. It was also important that I found schools with special programs, such as archery teams, in order to find department heads for the summer.
Additionally, I looked into every college/university within eight of the surrounding states. In doing this, I tried to pinpoint certain schools with unique and diverse backgrounds as equity and diversity are values and actions that Camp Alleghany is committed to achieving in both counselor and leadership positions.
It’s been so wonderful to reach out to so many people, including former ‘Ghany counselors and campers, which gave me chances to reconnect with other ‘Ghany Girls.
Connecting with Others
I also sought out new applicants, and other people who had questions about camp. Interacting with such a wide range of people helped me to learn how to communicate with people based on age, experience, and personal connections.
Before taking on this internship, I had only really emailed professors and texted friends and family, so learning proper communication skills for introductions, elevator pitches, and invitations to connect with people has been very instructive and helpful for me — I know this will influence the remainder of my time at JMU, in pursuit of other jobs and internships, and in the long arc of my career.
This is now my fifth blog for camp and I’ve already seen growth in my writing and in my ability to choose a topic, find an angle, and follow through with the completed piece to send to camp’s editor. Doing these blogs has created an extended document of my internship year and has allowed me to reflect on my time at ‘Ghany as well.
Learning Through Camp
Another of my responsibilities has been to attend weekly meetings with Casey in order to go over my tasks for the week and tackle any questions either of us may have. With business being virtual, it has been important to make sure there’s clear communication and detailed emails — weekly meetings have helped us with that.
I’ve learned so much through this internship and am very grateful for it. I was actually supposed to have an internship writing blogs for Camp while also being a counselor last summer, for 2020. Due to COVID, we had to cancel that; this school-year role has been a wonderful alternative.
No matter what your major or how long you’ve been at Camp, Elizabeth and Casey want everyone to know that they will work with you to find an internship that will benefit you in the best ways possible. This could include finding an internship through a connection of theirs or having one set up with them. The “staff recruiting” internship wasn’t a position until I reached out with my interests. They worked with my aims to come up with something for me. Not only does reaching out help you to gain experience, but it helps them to have someone with new ideas and an extra set of hands.
If you’re looking for an internship or a summer job, please reach out or just apply — we’ love to have you this summer. Apply now to have the most memorable and rewarding summer ever!
— Haley McClelland, Alum and Staff Recruiting Intern, Camp Alleghany for Girls