Amanda Vandenburg ’14
Major(s): Environmental Studies
Internship Site: Roving Nature Center - Oldwick, NJ
I found this internship in Summer 2011 when I already had a job at a different camp. It was a program running through the same township. I kept it in the back of my mind and applied for this summer, as I wanted to try something involving environmental education.
There was a different environmental theme for each week of camp. All of the activities had the goal of children discovering and learning about nature as well as building team work and cooperation. I loved working on shelters in the woods, as all of the children would work together to break and carry logs. Also, creek days for the older kids were a blast! They always involved a ton of discovery and fun. We would work our way throughout the entire creek in the nature preserve, catching frogs and a ton of fish. I loved to see how much the campers enjoyed nature while on the creek.
The most challenging part for me was figuring out how to work with specific kids. I have worked at camps before, but I’ve never been in charge and tried to teach them in the woods. Every Monday we would have a different batch of kids to work with. It was always hard to get into the swing of things when you don’t know the group dynamics and how to handle issues and attitudes. As the week went on, my co-worker and I figured out how to respond to the campers and came up with strategies to teach the specific group. From this, I learned how to adapt and plan for the individual group dynamics that came with every new week.
I’ve definitely loved working with my co-worker, and she’s been very helpful to me throughout the summer. She gave me advice on career paths to take as well as tips on how to deal with issues at work. She also encouraged me to step up and become a better leader and educator, pushing me to take on more responsibilities and tasks on a daily basis.
Tips from Amanda:
Do an internship in something you think you want to do for the future, particularly if you’re not really sure what your future plans will be. This can help you narrow down what you want to do and give you experience in the field that you might want to get into. Don’t focus as much on pay and location of the internship. While this is important, the most important part is the experience you’ll come away with.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.