Confessions of an Alumni Engagement Intern: Season 2
By Tatiana Simmons (Alumni Engagement Intern)
Being able to be a part of the behind the scenes for a large scale event is such a surreal experience. If you’re new here, let me give you some background. My role as the Riley’s Way Alumni Engagement Intern was coming to a close. I worked on the Riley’s Way merchandise store, the Alumni Leadership Development Fund (coming soon!), and more, and had the best time! But then, I decided to stay on and continue my role by working on the Youth Leadership Retreat.
This fall, the fifth annual Riley’s Way Youth Leadership Retreat brought together 120 young leaders from across the county to build meaningful connections with like minded changemakers at Tyler Hill Camp in Tyler Hill, PA. The theme was From Roots to Ripples: Leadership and the Power of Identity. The planning going into the Retreat was a big task and Riley’s Way Engagement and Events Director, Stephanie Kingston, did such a great job.
At first I was worried about trying to balance helping Stephanie with work for the Retreat while preparing to be a Team Mentor, leading an affinity group, and all of my school obligations. I was not sure I would be able to handle it all. However, I worked with some amazing people that were very supportive and willing to help with anything I needed.
Planning for the Retreat included me doing research on high schools across the country to invite students to come, researching Retreat speakers, researching those cool purple Riley’s Way water bottles, and helping plan workshops for the Retreat. All of those tasks came with their own set of challenges, but the end product made everything worthwhile. My favorite thing was definitely being a Team Mentor. Team Mentors are in charge of leading their own bunk where they are a resource for attendees to help foster a sense of community. I loved being able to lead and connect with young leaders from all over the country.
Getting to the Retreat and stepping off the bus was such an amazing moment. I was greeted with hugs left and right from Riley’s Way staff members. Being able to see all the planning and everything that went into creating the event, and then actually getting to experience the whole weekend in person was such a great experience. Everything turned out perfectly, if not better than imagined.
Outside of the Retreat planning, during the second half of my time as the Riley’s Way Alumni Engagement Intern, I did a few more interviews for the Alumni newsletter, The Connector, and one for the new Call For Kindness (C4K) newsletter (coming soon). I love interviewing and meeting C4K Fellows because it’s fascinating to learn about their projects, how they came up with their project idea, and what their goals are. I hope all of you are just as excited as I am for the C4K newsletter because working with Cheyenne and Naya was such a pleasure.
It’s so bittersweet to have this chapter come to a close. I’m blessed to have been given this wonderful opportunity and can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and apply it. I’ll be continuing school and being involved with my organizations on campus. Being an intern for Riley’s Way has been such an amazing experience. I am so excited to see what the future brings for Riley’s Way and all the amazing things to come.
Tatiana Simmons Alumni Engagement Intern signing off.