Make the most of your summer internship

With a new group of summer interns starting at Youth Villages in a few short weeks, we would like to share 10 brief tips that will enhance your internship experience – whether you are interning at Youth Villages or elsewhere!

1. Be prepared. The Boy Scouts’ motto comes in handy here.  Know what to expect during your internship including what time to arrive, what to wear, and any information you can uncover before arriving your first day. Also, putting in the effort to prepare for each activity and day of the internship, even if it takes some extra time, will make you more effective with the kids and families we serve.

2. Be proactive. Take initiative to learn more by asking for more responsibility or projects. Also, be proactive in your approach to problem-solving. If you see an issue or problem, take the initiative to bring it up and talk through solutions with a staff member.

3. Be positive. This will not only greatly impact you, but those around you and especially the youth you are working with!

4. Ask questions. It is important to ask well-thought-out questions and they can demonstrate your interest. You can typically find insightful answers and learn more on-the-job by asking great questions.

5. Meet people. Make connections with staff members, other interns, and anyone you come in contact with during your internship.  Not only will this likely prove helpful for your future career, but meeting people and making connections can enhance your present internship experience by connecting you with more resources and learning opportunities.

6. Value observation. Even if your current task is not as hands-on as you would like, be sure to absorb and value all you can learn through observation.

7. Listen. Listening is an essential skill to develop in an internship. Listening to staff at the organization will help you learn valuable information about the expectations of the organization and how things operate. Listening to the youth will help you understand their story and more effectively help them improve their behaviors.

8. Be a team player. At Youth Villages, a lot can be accomplished by working with others and utilizing their strengths. When working with youth, it is especially important to be a part of a team, share common goals, and be on the same page.

9. Roll up your sleeves…in the metaphorical sense. Don’t limit yourself by avoiding the less-than-glamorous tasks. To successfully help youth and families, there will be pieces of the process that are not as thrilling as others, but may be just as important to the end result. You never know what skills you could develop or what a child could learn from your hard work if you are to take on those tasks.

10. Have fun! Enjoy your experience and all that an internship has to offer.  Have fun learning, growing and making an extraordinary impact in the lives of youth and families!

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