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College students to intern at service-oriented summer camp

| Wednesday, April 19, 2017

As part of an internship with the Holy Cross Ministries Summer Service Program, four Saint Mary’s sophomores will spend eight weeks in Park City, Utah this summer to work at a summer camp for children ages 6 through 12.

The camp is science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) focused, and according to the job description, camp activities are designed to be both educational and fun. The camp objective on the Holy Cross Ministries website is to provide “a variety of activities designed to help students build skills and assets that will help reduce summer learning loss and increase social and emotional development.”

According to the Holy Cross Ministries website, Summer Service interns help the students not only keep up academically, but also adjust socially and cope with the challenges they face in life, something incoming intern Teresa Brickey said aligns with the College mission.

“I am really excited to dedicate my summer to investing my time to the Holy Cross missions,” she said. “This tradition is deeply connected to our college, and I take pride in it. And I am really excited to meet new people and spend time in a place that I have never been to.”

Each intern will work with teachers to plan inclusive activities for a small class of campers, including students from non-English speaking, first-generation immigrant homes, according to the intern job description.

Despite this language barrier, incoming intern Madeline Moeller said her previous service seminars through the Center for Social Concerns — such as the Urban Plunge and Appalachia trips — helped prepare her for this position.

“I found a passion for serving others through these seminars, and I am excited to serve and to work with the youth this summer,” she said.

Incoming intern Michaela Mwachande also said she feels prepared because of her experiences working at the local Kroc Center.

“I went in for the interview feeling pretty confident about my experience and overall willingness to help children,” Mwachande said.

Incoming intern Jessica Purvis also has prior experience working with kids. Purvis currently volunteers at the Early Childhood Development Center at Notre Dame, which she said gives her plenty of hands-on experience with children.

Despite these helpful experiences, however, Purvis said she is nervous about connecting with the kids she will work with in Utah.

“It is summer, and naturally school isn’t where kids want to spend their time off,” she said. “I’m hoping I can make this experience as fun for them as it is will be for me.”

As an early childhood education minor, Purvis said she is excited to put the ideas she learns in class into practice. In one of her education classes, she observed a local elementary class for 30 hours a week, she said.

“I was able to learn so much from the teachers there, and I know will carry over into my teaching this summer,” Purvis said.

Though leaving home is bittersweet, Brickey said she and her fellow interns know they will make a huge impact on these children’s lives, and they are excited to have such an influential and meaningful summer job.

“Not seeing my parents or my little brother is going to be rough, but overall we understand that this is something that I have been called to do right now in my life,” she said.

Purvis said her family has been incredibly supportive and is already planning a roadtrip to visit her in Utah. Overall, she said, the internship is a chance for her to make a lasting difference.

“I am most excited about having an opportunity to make an impact in children’s lives,” Purvis said. “I’ve never had the chance to make a difference firsthand, and this summer I will be able to do so.”

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