Like the previous week, my last week as a program assistant had a lighter load than usual, with most of my time spent in the office. During that time, I worked on numerous office projects, researched topics for Citizenship Washington Focus, and prepared for my next groups. To prepare for the groups, I researched locations, planned routes, and met with the Conference Service Manager, who is responsible for planning the trip for the group. I had a group this weekend, Columbia County 4-H Livestock from Pennsylvania, with whom I spent less time than usual. For this group, I just took them on a Nightview, an evening tour of the memorials and monuments, and lead them around the city during the day on Saturday.
Because I worked a lot with the group last week and my next group does not come for a couple weeks, I spent very little time in the office this week. However, of the time that I did spend in the office, I spent most of my time finishing up paperwork for Winner’s Circle and working on office task. In addition, the PAs are responsible for researching congressional issues for the conference center’s summer program, Citizenship Washington Focus, in which students will be writing their own bills. I researched the topics of CAFO emissions and restrictions on the media and then presented them to the Educational Programs team on Thursday. I will continue to work on CAFO emissions research, as well as diving into some tech topics.
The first few days of this week consisted of finishing up training and preparing for my first group: Winner’s Circle 4-H Club from Palmer, Alaska. Typically, each group only has one Program Assistant, or PA, but for this group, I was paired with one of the other PAs, Alexis. Our group began with a workshop and then we led them around the city. They went to the some of the most popular locations, such as the Capitol, Smithsonian museums, and memorials, as well as some other locations, like the Spy Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. Our role as PAs was to be a liaison between the group and the locations, providing information about them and making sure their reservations or tickets were correct. Additionally, for one evening, I broke away from the group and provided a tour of the monuments and memorials to my Class of AZP, as this was our final seminar. Overall, this was a great learning experience as to what to expect with a group and I loved getting to know the students and chaperones. It was the perfect group to have as my first group for my internship.
Training this week was heavily focused on making sure we had the correct commentary and routes. For most of my tours, I will not only be talking all the way into the city, usually at least 30 minutes, but will also need to provide step-by-step directions to the bus driver, as many of them are unfamiliar with the city or our routes. Therefore, we not only have to know what to talk about and when, but also must be ready to give the correct directions. For me, I was the most concerned about getting around the city, but after practicing and driving the routes, I feel very comfortable directing the driver around the city. So far, I am amazed at how much I have learned over the past two weeks and how much I am able to remember and say. There are so many things I did not know about the city that I am so eager to share with the students in the next three months! In addition to working on the routes, I also had to prepare and present one of our workshops to the group. I chose “In the News”, a workshop discussing press releases and PSAs, where the students work in groups to create their own PSAs. I loved being able to have a task that is specifically for communication and I hope that I will be able to do that workshop with at least one group in my time here. Next week, we will be with our first groups!