“Be an Apprentice” the theme of camp this week, but it really describes my experience for the whole summer. At the Ohio Craft Museum and at the Columbus Foundation, I have learned so many new skills from the masters around me, whether they be artists, local leaders, educators, or experienced non-profit professionals. I am learning organization and planning skills from my boss, how non-profits function and operate from those at the Columbus Foundation, and new art techniques and ways of thinking from all the artists that I am meeting.
Additionally, I am trying to be a master in my own position, particularly by modeling good behavior and skills to the campers and the teen volunteers. Managing the teen volunteers is one of my tasks for the summer, and this week it was definitely a challenge. Some of the volunteers are pretty close in age to the older campers, so sometimes they forget that they are supposed to be classroom helpers and instead are goofing off with the kids or working on their own projects instead of assisting the campers. Getting them back on track with little nudges and positive reinforcement instead of getting frustrated at them is the goal, but it is hard to be supportive and positive when there is so much else going on. But good classroom skills and management are learned by experience, so I have to remind myself that they are learning by doing and watching, and make sure that when they are watching me, they are seeing useful and positive things. This is especially important to remember as I think about my future career, especially because I want to work in museums where people are constantly on display.
Being both the apprentice and the master is exhausting, but totally worth it! This week there have been a lot of multi-day projects that require a lot of steps and supplies, so getting all of that ready wiped me out! But, as usual, we have a great group of campers who are excited and ready to make amazing art, so it all pays off in the end!