Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Interning at DinoMights
Every Tuesday I meet with a group of Social Work students at my school and we discuss what is going on at our internship placements. It often turns into somewhat of a group therapy session as students share the challenges they are going through. The most common frustration that students talk about tends to be dealing with their supervisors. Many feel that their supervisors do not understand the purpose of the internship and assign them tasks simply to keep them busy rather than tasks that truly foster learning. Others say that their supervisors do not have time for them, and that they are left to figure things out on their own. There are some students that even feel resented and unwelcome at their internships.
I am grateful to say that their experiences are nothing like what I have experienced interning at DinoMights. From day one the staff has made my learning a priority. I have to admit that I was pretty sure of myself when I began working here. After all, I had been involved in DinoMights for almost my whole life, there couldn't be that much that I didn't already know. That notion was quickly put to rest as I realized there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that as a program participant and even as a volunteer I was never aware of. For example, it is a lot of work to coordinate rides! I had no idea as a kid that there were calls, emails, and spreadsheets involved in getting my coach to my house every Wednesday morning before practice.
Even beyond the countless hours of quality youth work experience I have gained over the school year, I have been introduced to a lot of helpful new skills in the DinoMights office. I have had the opportunity to help plan a major fundraising event, edit video footage, record financial information, recruit volunteers, learn how to use complicated computer programs, test student's academic skills, and connect our program with other community resources. The staff has even been trying to teach me how to drive! I can't say how much I appreciate Scott, Pa Kou, and Eric's willingness to teach me. There have been many times when it would have been easier (and faster!) for them to complete a particular task themselves but they took the time to show me how to do it instead. I don't feel the same pressure that many of my peers feel at their internships about perfect performance. I want to do my job well, but I also know that mistakes are a part of the learning process and that no one here is going to reprimand me if I mess up. I feel free to ask questions and have always felt very supported by everyone in the program.
I am so appreciative of the diverse experiences and learning opportunities that I have had so far here at DinoMights and am looking forward to continuing that during the rest of my time here!