Major: Kinesiology and Health
Company/Organization: ExerCYse is Medicine
Company/Organization website: http://www.exercyse.org
Title: Youth Program Intern
Destination: Ames, Iowa
Timeframe: Spring 2017
Advisor/Coordinator Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was responsible for...
I coordinated all aspects of our winter youth exercise program, ExerCYse Time, which provides youth in Ames the opportunity to be active indoors during the winter months. Each Friday evening, I would lead the ExerCYse Time sessions and coordinate volunteers who were available to help explain the activities to the children and have fun alongside the children. I got experience marketing the program through flyers, email, and website/social media, which is something I did not have much experience with in my coursework. I also coordinated an event called Project ACES (All Children Exercising Simultaneously) Day during which volunteers and leaders of the ExerCYse is Medicine group visit all five elementary schools in Ames during their recess period and promote physical activity by creating fun exercise stations. Cy the mascot also travels around to each school to get the kids excited about exercise. I was responsible for reserving Cy, coordinating this event with all the schools, promoting this event to volunteers, and coordinating all volunteers on the day of the event. My last program-related responsibility was to begin the planning for a summer youth exercise program called VERB Summer Scorecard. This program encourages children to be active by providing them with a variety of fun activities they can attend to earn a sticker on their scorecard. When they fill out a scorecard by being active both at home and at VERB events, they can hand the scorecard in for small prizes and an opportunity to be picked out of a raffle for a larger prize at the end of the summer. My main responsibility has been to begin finding individuals or groups within the community who will demonstrate activities for the VERB participants. In addition to the coordination of the ExerCYse is Medicine youth programs, I also promoted ExerCYse is Medicine at various events throughout the semester. I attended Club Fest, an ISU Foundation banquet, a health fair, and an Earth Day event.
Before I started interning with ExerCYse is Medicine, the ExerCYse Time program did exist but it took place only in the Forker gym on Friday evenings. Right before I got involved with ExerCYse is Medicine, Dr. Welk had finalized an agreement with the Ames School District that would allow the ExerCYse is Medicine group to hold ExerCYse Time sessions at the elementary gyms throughout the Ames School District. During the semesters when ExerCYse Time was held in the Forker gym, around 10-15 children would participate each week. I had a goal to increase the attendance at ExerCYse Time to 50, so I promoted the program as much as I could within the schools. I handed out flyers, spoke at assemblies, and even convinced a couple P.E. teachers to talk about this opportunity with their students. All of my hard work paid off when I had almost 50 participants at my first session of the semester! At my third session, I had almost 150 participants! "WOW!" was all I could think. I could not have accomplished my goal without the help of my contacts within the Ames School District, so I advise you to reach out to people if you think they can spread word of a cause you believe in!
The greatest lesson I learned during my internship is to ask what your supervisor expects of you. I had a lot of freedom during my internship, but at the end of the day, I did have to report back to my supervisor who has a lot more time invested into this program. I felt more at ease when I knew that the steps I was taking would make my supervisor proud of the work I completed. I think my supervisor also appreciated being updated about what was going on and knowing that I really did care about the success of the programs I was coordinating.
Advice for others...
As I mentioned briefly before, don't be afraid to reach out to people who might be able to help you do your job better! Whether it be reaching out to your supervisor, your team mate, or someone in the community, it is important to ask for help. The people you will be working with will know you are new to this, and they will likely be very understanding and kind to you.