North Country Children's Museum Blog#1 | St. Lawrence University Career Connections

North Country Children's Museum Blog#1

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This summer, I’m interning at the North Country Children’s Museum, and I’m loving every second of it. I entered this internship with no real clear idea of what to expect, because the job description mainly talked about me working with kids in the organization’s traveling museum-without-walls exhibit. However, I didn’t know I’d be primarily providing crucial contributions, which preserve and further the very existence of the organization itself.


I mainly chose this job to be up in Canton for the summer, to help out in the community which I’ve called home for almost four years, and to try my hand at non-profits, which was and still is a very real career path I’m considering. In my internship, I have indeed spent time playing with kids and teaching them about basic circuitry and plumbing. That experience is just on Saturdays, however. On the weekdays, I ride my bike to Potsdam where the main office is to work on administrative projects. I have been put in charge of compiling a list of all possible grant foundations, which we could then choose to apply for to help raise money as part of a $200,000 capital campaign.  After populating my spreadsheet, I have begun writing grants to these foundations, asking for money in amounts up to $65,000. It has been the most rewarding summer I’ve spent thus far in terms of figuring out potential career paths.


What have I learned to date? I’ve learned a couple things, which I will definitely keep in mind when thinking about my future. One, there are certainly some pros and cons to writing grants. I like the language and formality of writing grants; it’s professional and structured in a way that rewards clear and concise writing, leaving out any frills (something I definitely need to work on). However, I dislike what I see as the redundancy of grant writing. Even though it feels great to dive into grant writing process, many applications contain a lot of the same vernacular and facts with no really huge variations, just some changes to fit the philanthropic views and requirements of the given foundation. So this has taught me that maybe I seek a job that has the professional and deliberate writing facet, yet, provides obstacles that I need to be creative and figure my way around.


Lastly, this internship experience has taught me that I really like the level of involvement that a small non-profit has in a rural community like Canton. I think it’s more the case that I really enjoy work where I can see or feel its immediacy and importance, which, for this internship, is evident when I go to community events like the Dairy Princess Parade (my baptism into North Country community life—one which I recommend attending if one wants a true Canton, North Country experience), engaging with all the kids eager to explore and learn. 


I didn’t expect to play such an important role in my internship, and that is what has hooked me with this internship and has made my couple qualms about the redundancy of my work totally irrelevant in my eyes.