Hello again everyone! Joseph O’Brien checking in for the last time from Umatilla County.
WOW! I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks already. I feel like our internship orientation was just yesterday and we were creating individual objectives for the summer in our specific program areas. My time in the 4-H and Open Campus programs have been filled with endless fun, opportunities, experiences, and growth – personal and professional. From working at Science Fridays at the SAGE Center in Boardman to judging the goat portion of master showmanship at the Umatilla County Fair at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center in Hermiston, I would say my experiences were very diverse this summer.
Each intern this summer was tasked with creating or partaking in a project in their program area and sharing their progress with their fellow interns during the weekly internship check-ins. My project this summer was to work with the grant provided by Corteva to the Extension Service here in Umatilla County. This grant focused on monarch butterflies and how they are dwindling in numbers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Therefore, it was my project to go around to summer schools and camps to teach students about what these pollinators provide for us. One game I played was the “Ice Cream Sundae Challenge.” In short, each team created an amazing ice cream sundae combination with the toppings and flavors they were given. Once they were done, we talked about all the ingredients, it was determined that without pollinators, we would not be able to eat any of the food items. Not only did the kids learn about the butterflies, but I learned more about the overall grant process, how to engage a larger group of youth, and how to create lesson plans out of the curriculum provided.
Throughout the two summers I have been interning with the Extension Service, I always get the same question, “Why are you interning for the Extension Service when you are a nursing major?” Now there is a question that might stump you. It made me really think about why I came back for a second time and why I will continue to volunteer with the extension service programs in the future. “Community,” is the first word that comes to mind. As a nursing student who is heavily involved on campus, I have learned what it means to create community and the importance of getting others involved in those opportunities – even if it may not perk your interest at first. Although I don’t personally see myself working for the Extension Service in the future, that doesn’t mean I can’t engage, grow, and collaborate with those in my community and use those experiences and growth opportunities in my nursing career.
With that said, I am so grateful and will cherish every place, person, program, and partnership that made my internship possible for a second time. In a few weeks, I will be starting my junior year of nursing school. I would be kidding myself if I said I was ready for what lies ahead but, I know that I have multiple communities behind me with an abundance of support to give if I find myself lost. And who knows, I may come back to the Extension Service here in Umatilla County again for my final internship opportunity. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned …
Stay safe and well!