Monday, October 12, 2015

Caryn's Summer 2015 Internship

My name is Caryn Guth and I am currently a second year M.A. in Public History student with an emphasis in Heritage Education. This past summer, I was given the incredible opportunity of living in Estes Park, Colorado and interning at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center. Specifically, I worked in the Lula W. Dorsey museum and I was the museum education intern.

Going into this, I really was not sure what to expect because I had never officially taught historical education classes and really did not have a formal education background, but as it turned out I was much better prepared than I was giving myself credit for. My special project was one that lasted all summer and it consisted of me taking the eleven predetermined day camp themes and writing an interactive and fun lesson plan for each different week that was related to the YMCA of the Rockies specifically, the YMCA in general, or Colorado history and then teaching those lessons to day camp kids grades Pre-K through 8th grade. The eleven different themes were Disney, Nature, Careers, Space, Holidays, History, Superheros, Around the World, Water World, Books, and Color Wars.

For example, these are some of the lesson plans that I created:

Week 1: Disney - A Disney themed scavenger hunt where kids were given a list of Disney movies, which varied for different age groups. Then, they had to go in the museum and look on the museum grounds (there were three historic cabins as well) for artifacts that they thought could relate to the listed Disney movie. Examples would be finding the ice saw to match with Frozen and mice (fake, of course) to match with Cinderella.

Week 4: Space - We read different Native American creation stories about constellations and then kids got to create their own constellations using marshmallows and pretzels, which they could eat at the end of the lesson, name it, and write their own story about it.

Week 10 - Books - We made homemade paper! It was a lot of work, and quite messy, but very fun and the kids absolutely loved it, which was what mattered most!

There are not nearly enough words to describe how much fun I had during my internship this summer, and how much I learned that I would be able to take with me throughout the rest of my education and hopefully into future careers. Coming into this internship, I was really not quite sure what to expect or what exactly my duties would be. I quickly became overwhelmed when I learned that I would be creating 11 different lesson plans for kids ranging from PreK-8th grade, and I was basically doing it all on my own. However, my supervisor Carie was such an amazing lady and mentor and a huge help to me during my time here. There were also many different times when I had to act independently as she was gone many of the weeks over to the sister YMCA camp, Snow Mountain Ranch, where she is also the association historian. It boosted my confidence to know that she had faith and trust in me that I could do this, and it felt great to prove her right!
I learned a lot about writing lesson plans, which was something I had never done before, and even more about teaching them to kids. After working here for 14 weeks, I can safely say that if this was the job I would have to do for the rest of my life as my career, I could not be happier. While there were days that proved to be difficult, I came away from this internship overall feeling very happy and proud of myself. The relationships I made here are ones that will last forever, and the experience was once in a lifetime and certainly one that I will never forget.

My amazing co-workers at the museum who I quickly became lifelong friends with!

The back of the museum grounds with the three historic cabins

Yes, it snowed the day after I moved in...

Elk checking out our historic tents at the museum

I had free time on the weekends to hike with some of my friends too!

View from the front porch of the museum - a place I spent lots of quality time when not teaching

I finally saw a black bear!

View from the front of the museum

YMCA of the Rockies

I also had a chance to do fun Colorado things like go white water rafting - I definitely recommend it if you like adventure!

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