This was my last week with the 4-H Center and it was spent with my last group, Bourne Middle School from Bourne, Massachusetts. This was an entire 8th grade class, so my colleagues, Alexis and Alayna, were also on this group. Since we have been working together for the past three months, we were able to play off of each other’s strengths to try to provide the best experience for our group. However, this one became challenging for many reasons, two of the most obvious ones were that we moved as three buses, or about 150 people, and that we had communication issues with the chaperones. Whenever we encountered a problem, we tried our hardest to think of the best possible solution. Through this experience, I have learned the importance of relying on your co-workers and how to work together to have the best result. Overall, I have really enjoyed my time at the National 4-H Conference Center. I found the working environment very enjoyable and learned a lot from the experience. Although I don’t think this would be something I would want as a career, I still gained a lot as a Program Assistant.
This week I was with Mount Bethel Christian Academy, a 6th grade class from Nashville, TN. MBCA was a very short group, but flexible as well. It was easy to work with them, and I rarely encountered any problems. Like my last group, these students were younger than previous groups, so I had to adapt my commentary to their age and knowledge. This was another reminder of how important it is to adapt what you are communicating to your audience and how this is a skill that I am working on as an agricultural communicator. For the rest of the week, I continued to prepare for CWF and for my group coming the next week.
Because I have had groups for multiple weeks in a row, I spent most of my time in the office. This week I worked to prepare for CWF, the summer 4-H conference beginning in the next few weeks. Most of my time was spent doing administrative or organization tasks, such as making sure there were enough supplies for activities or updating documents. If I was not working on CWF prep, I was preparing for my next group, Mount Bethel Christian Academy, who will be arriving on Sunday. For this school, I will be working with another PA, Alexis, so the work was divided between us.
From Sunday to Thursday, I was with St. Paul Christian Academy from Nashville, Tennessee. This group was a 6th grade class, which is younger than most of the groups I am working with. Because of this, I had to change my approach to presenting the information and how to handle situations. Although it was difficult at times, it all worked out and was a fantastic experience. I had a great group of students and the chaperones were cooperative. Like almost every group, something unique happens, and with St. Paul, I was able to see the House Chamber. Although they were not in session, it was interesting to see where the House of Representatives are voting on bills that affect our everyday lives. Overall, this group was a reminder of how important it is to know your audience and how to adapt to different ones.
Compared to my last two weeks, this one was more relaxed and not as packed. I spent most of my time in the office, but usually was only in for half a day. I did have two groups, one night tour and one during the day. For my day group, my fellow PAs and I had to plan a lot for this group, and then think of something else when our plans did not work out. Although it was very stressful in the moment, everything worked out well and our group enjoyed their experience. Usually, this type of situation is challenging for me, but thankfully, I was able to think on my feet and discuss multiple possibilities with my colleagues. While in the office, I spent most of my time preparing for my group coming on Sunday or working on projects for CWF.
This week, I continued touring with Caprock Academy from Colorado. It has been one of the longest tours I have had, lasting from Saturday to Thursday, for a total of 5 nights. This group was very challenging for many reasons, first being that it was very exhausting and left me with little time to recharge. However, I had to remember to make the most of the students’ experience and to always put my best foot forward. In addition, my group also was late numerous times, so we were often late to some of our destinations. I definitely had my patience tested, but in the end, everything worked out great. This was certainly a reminder to always keep a clear mind and to worry about things that only I can control. With Caprock, I had a very unique experience- witnessing a presidential motorcade! We were taking pictures by the White House and noticed that something was going on, and decided to stick around to see what it could be. The students were thrilled and it was something truly memorable. Overall, this group of students was one of my most enthusiastic and well-behaved and I enjoyed spending the week with them.
This week has been one of my busiest thus far. I began with Morristown Beard, a school in New Jersey, and led them around the city from Monday to Wednesday. We visited the typical sites in D.C.- Smithsonians, memorials, etc.- but it was a very easy group as they were well-behaved and very disciplined. On Wednesday evening, I had a Nightview tour with a group from West Virginia and then had a few days off and to prepare for my next group that came on Saturday. This group, Caprock Academy, is from Colorado, and I will be with them until Thursday. We will be headed to many different sites in Washington, D.C., as well as some that I have yet to visit with the group, such as the National Cathedral and the National Zoo. This will be a great learning experience to prep myself for when other groups visit these sites.
This week, I was with the Harris Road Middle School 8th grade class from North Carolina. This group used 6 buses, so there were several of us working together. Although it was one big group, we all were able to work individually and focus on the students on our bus. Throughout this experience, and especially this week, I have learned how to work with others, even as their approach to something may vary greatly from mine. For example, I like to have a plan before I do something, and tend to take a lot of time “perfecting” it. However, there were some other guides who preferred to go with the flow and handle the situation as time went along. I had to find a middle ground between this so that we could successfully work together. In addition, after working various hours, I feel that this experience will prepare me for any position that I will have in the future, as I will not only have the ability and experience of working a normal business day, but also have the experience of working for more 12 hours. So far, I am gaining more from this experience than I had originally anticipated.
Like many times after I have finished a group, I had a lot of time off this week, but still spent some time in the office. I began my week editing my congressional issues topics for CWF and then completing tasks around the office. In addition, I worked on preparing for my group coming next week. This group consist of an entire 8th grade class, so there will be 6 of us working together on one group. It is a great learning experience to work with other people and to see how we will approach situations. After our meeting in the middle of the week, I spent the rest of my time in the office printing name tags, looking up routes, and preparing myself for the group’s arrival.
Compared to the last two weeks, this one was rather busy, as I had two groups to lead around the city. My first group of the week was a group of students from the National 4-H Conference. For this group, I was only with them for the evening and led them around some of Washington D.C.’s most popular memorials and monuments. They were a fantastic group and very energetic! Next, I spent the latter portion of the week with Princeton Charter School, an 8th grade class from Princeton, New Jersey. This group had some of the most unique experiences, such as talking with a guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and meeting Supreme Court Justice Alito. These students were quite intelligent and asked a lot of insightful questions. So far, this group was the most rambunctious, which was something that had not happened with any of my previous groups. Still, it was a great learning experience and prepared me for a variety of situations.