Thursday, September 4, 2008

Summer Intern Program

On the last day of summer break, in between volleyball practices, Brittany reflected on her summer intern experience:

Brittany Coop

On my first day of this internship, I wrote a short essay on what I thought The Knox County Visioning Committee and Ogallala Commons meant to me. My definition of these two organizations has been greatly influenced and expanded by my work here. My internship has not been very long, but already I have learned so much more about where I live. Even though I have been here almost all my life in this county of just over 4,000 people, I have never really gotten to know the residents of each town until now.

At the beginning of my internship, I interviewed Knox County Visioning Team members about where the Team has been and where they would like it go. Each one had a genuine interest in making Knox County beautiful and resourceful, and a place our children could come back home to. After meeting with several local leaders from different areas of the County, I learned that, among other objectives, they all had a common goal: to bring a sense of community between the different towns.

Whenever I got a chance, I worked on compiling and organizing a mailing list of the young families in Knox County. After completion, I learned that it was to be used by the County Judge, Travis Floyd, to invite some young families to his home for a get-together. There was eating, visiting, and a discussion of what was going on within the County, and how they could get involved with local events. I was pretty surprised and honored when Judge Floyd asked me to attend as well. One of the most interesting and fun things about the night was that the couples were encouraged to bring their families, and I got the chance to help another teenager watch some of the younger kids. Overall, it was a very fun and informative night.

Next, the annual Donald Johnson Memorial Watermelon Festival was upon us! This event is the perfect opportunity to get the word out on local organizations, and we did not want to miss it. After securing us a place to set up a display, work began on an exhibit that would clearly and simply tell people what The Visioning Team is, while still making it eye-catching to the many different people who walked by that hot Saturday afternoon. The main idea of the four posters I assembled was “Opening the Door to New Possibilities.” One told of the origins of the Knox County Visioning Team, another detailed the future and the other two utilized quotes from Board Members discussing the progress so far. I also made postcard-sized flyers detailing what the Team was, and how they could find out more about it. Many people stopped by to learn more about us, and they almost always expressed, “I’m so glad we have something like that!”

In the final week of my internship, I surveyed local residents from all walks of life about what they feel the County is, what they love, and what they would like to change about it. My answers were not as common-goal oriented as they had been when I interviewed Team Members, but instead turned out to be as diverse as the people who live here. From talking with the people I met, I felt that I was able to get the word out on The Visioning Committee. After I collected all the surveys, I took the information and opinions I received and created a profile on the project. The most striking thing I learned from this was that nearly everyone I spoke to truly loved their hometowns and wanted to tell everyone they could what a wonderful place we live in!

I have had such a great time and learned so much in the month I have been here; that I wish the summer wasn’t over! I have at times stepped out of my comfort zone and met people from all over the community and learned that I had more in common with than I would have previously thought. I hope to continue working closely with all the organizations and people I have come in contact with, and watch our community flourish!

I hope Brittany truly did enjoy and learn from her time working with the KCVC and Ogallala Commons. We were surely blessed to have her! You’ll be seeing more of her innovative ideas in the next few months!

1 comment:

Tammie said...

Brittany, what an opportunity! Thank you for all your hard work and for caring about your home county. Way to go, great job!