3 August 2016
Hi! I'm Katie and I did the most awesome internship this summer.
This summer I participated in a program called InternNYC, based at the JCC Manhattan on the Upper West Side of New York City. I decided to do this program because it was with teens my age and it taught me how to be a young adult in a professional work environment. InternNYC matches each teen at a different site where the interns work three times a week.
When I found out I was matched with mainstages, I was very excited. I had done some research on it before I started and saw that it is an adult's theater company that performs for kids at places such as schools, overnight camps, day camps, synagogues, etc. I went on their website and got to watch some clips of the awesome shows that they do. After watching these clips, I knew I was in for a fun ride. I couldn't wait for my first day and to dive into the crazy.
The first day I met my mentor Matt, the most awesome, insane, smart, crazy guy ever. We met about what I would be doing over the course of the internship and what was expected of me as an intern. I found him to be extremely accommodating with my personal goals. As soon as I met with him, I was completely comfortable and even more excited to jump in and get started. Then the next day, I got to experience my first show with mainstages. We did an awesome and very entertaining Storybook Theater Show at PS 115! We did have a counselor volunteer to dress up in costume which honestly was hilarious. Getting to see how happy the kids were was so rewarding. During these shows, kids learn lessons about respect and how to be a good person in the world. So not only are the shows very entertaining, but also educational and the kids walk away with life lessons. I mean how cool is that?!
My first takeaway was that business takes teamwork. This is a major team experience. For example, while one group would go on tour and be doing shows across different states, so others could be at the office and get work done. While setting up for each show, there was a lot of equipment and moving parts that had to be set up and taken down. This took a lot of team work. It also had to happen within certain time frames depending what times the shows were scheduled. Learning how to communicate and work with other people was a big takeaway for me. I got to learn what it takes to really be a team. Communication was extremely important as well as helping each other out and making compromises and sacrifices for the team.
My second takeaway was that theater is a very fun business, but it also takes a lot of energy. I loved getting to watch all the different shows and see the ways that the performers interact with the kids and the counselors at the different day camps. As soon as the shows would start, you could just see the kids' faces all light up. They loved every second of each show and were adorable. With kids comes energy. If you don't already know, kids have an insane amount of energy. I mean insane. Kids on their own, even without any sugar, are already plenty energetic. So with that comes having to match their energy levels, even be more energetic. Believe me, being more energetic than little kids can be hard, but manageable. Just pump yourself up and get excited!
My third takeaway is that getting your name and business out in the world can be tricky. A big part of marketing mainstages is word of mouth, in fact a majority of how they get their business. Also, social media plays a large role. For example, I got to learn how to use their own Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube, and twitter! You have to be smart and figure out how to always stay current and ahead of the game when it comes to marketing and advertising.
Challenges are never a bad thing. Think about challenges as more of an obstacle that you have to overcome and as something that makes you stronger and better in the end. Ok, now I know you won't believe this, but my commute to the mainstages office was twenty-two subway stops. Yes, really. TWENTY-TWO stops on the subway. I got pretty lucky and managed to not ever have any severe train problems. My next challenge was getting distracted. Okay, so I am a seventeen year old girl. Not just any seventeen year old girl, a seventeen year old girl with a phone addiction. Imagine trying to be me getting work done and trying everything you can to resist being on your phone. I mean if that's not impossible, I don't know what is. Seriously though, I had to make sure I was not too distracted and that I was staying on top of my work and deadlines that I had to meet. Mind you, each assignment was extremely fun. The last challenge I faced: wanting to be impressive. I know it's such a perfectionist thing for me to say, but I really did want to make a good impression on the mainstages staff, especially as a first time intern.
Okay, now the fun stuff. Yay! My first major high point was the shows. I absolutely loved each show I got to watch and be a part of. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids and how much fun performers as well as audience members have was amazing to see and be part of. You could tell that they all sincerely love their jobs and just have a blast. That was awesome to witness.
My second major high point was going back to New Country Day Camp, where I was a camper and a counselor in training. Walking around the campus and driving there, I had such déjà vu and it was just such a fun, surreal, and amazing experience for me. It was nice to be back on my old stomping grounds.
My last major high point was my overall experience. I had the opportunity to do a bunch of fun assignments and be part of some pretty spectacular shows. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and just have a good time. It was truly an experience I will never forget.
GO INTERN AND HANGOUT AT MAINSTAGES! IT'S SO MUCH FUN!