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With the summer starting to wrap up – I have just one week left! – I’ve been reflecting on the wonderful opportunities I’ve had out in the “real world.” I’ve done so much over the past few months, so I’d like to use this post to review some of my experiences and accomplishments.

I was hired to complete three major projects over the course of the summer. As I’ve previously mentioned, GOTR Triangle has been consistently collecting data for about two years. It was time for the council to have someone do something with that data, and I was that person! For the first half of my internship, I spent quite a bit of time with end-of-season surveys to create not only an end-of-season summary report for the spring 2017 season, but also to aggregate data from multiple seasons for a longitudinal report. It was (surprisingly) really fun to dig through lots of messy raw data and create something coherent and meaningful. The council will be using this report to create goals and benchmarks during their strategic planning process next year.

Of course, the second half of my internship focused mostly on the Girls on the Run Access and Inclusion Initiative. As the “groundbreaker” for this initiative, I developed a series of documents – an audit of available data, a snapshot of our current state of access and inclusion, a detailed report to review the data and identify areas for improvement, a rubric to assist in evaluating progress, and a resource list for future reference. Ultimately, I synthesized internally collected data with external research to come up with recommendations and next steps. I’m looking forward to seeing how GOTR Triangle uses this data in the coming months – and I’m equally as excited about the possibility of continuing my involvement by serving on their Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion Task Force in the coming year.

It was also rewarding to help with a variety of other small projects. Way back at the beginning of the summer (while I was filling in for our Program Coordinator), I worked on a site saturation report, assisted with coach and site relations, and helped with a site liaison focus group. I volunteered at two fundraising events – LunaFest and the #CarrieOn Golf Tournament -, participated in a fun board engagement campaign by bringing GOTR spirit to landmarks around the Triangle, and helped with an exciting sponsor appreciation surprise! I also had a hand in strategizing coach recruitment for the upcoming season, particularly with analyzing a volunteer need map and creating a volunteer recruitment asset map. Whew! I was busy this summer, but it was worth it.

Besides all of this amazing professional experience, what else did I learn? I became intimately familiar with the concept of work/life balance and how much importance I’ll want to place on that in the future. My love for nonprofits was also confirmed and re-confirmed over and over again. As our Executive Director Juliellen would say, I had an exceptional level of “goodness of fit” with this job – my skills were utilized and challenged with each project, my co-workers became like a little family to me, and I was continuously motivated by the overall mission of Girls on the Run.

On a side note, check out this two minute video if you’re interested in seeing how amazing Girls on the Run is and why I love it so much. It really resonated with me and you might find out that the GOTR program inspires you as well!

Just as I did at the beginning of my internship, I feel compelled to share the Girls on the Run value to “express joy, optimism, and gratitude through our words, thoughts, and actions.” I couldn’t be happier with my Professional Work Experience and I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity. My MPA mentor, Christi Hurt, frequently talks about “the sunbeam” – those seasons of life when everything seems to be going right – and I truly believe that working for GOTR Triangle played a key role in making my summer a sunbeam.

The opinions expressed here are solely my opinions. Content published here is not read or approved by Girls on the Run® International and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Girls on the Run® International. 

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