As many students know, the search for a summer job can be a stressful one. It can be difficult to find a good job at all, let alone one in your field of study. Having spent the past five summers working as a camp counselor, I was ready for a change; so when I discovered the summer student position at ACAP, I knew it was the job for me. I remember walking into the office for the first time on the day of my interview and I could already tell what a vibrant and exciting workplace this would be. I had no idea what to expect on my first day of work, but that turned out to be a bit of a theme throughout my summer. When working as a summer student for ACAP, each day brings new opportunities that you could never expect.
My main project of the summer was working on the Environmental Outreach and Engagement Initiative. I spent many hours compiling ideas from books, blogs and other staff members to create a brand new environmental education program for the YMCA camps at the Glenn Carpenter Centre. Then, once camp started, I was there every week to administer this new program myself. Thanks to my many previous years working as a camp counselor, I felt very comfortable in the beautiful outdoor setting and took on the role of the YMCA’s “Earth Educator” with pride. The campers knew me as “Acorn” (which I was nicknamed because it sounds like ACAP) and together we spent the summer exploring the wilderness and learning about all it has to offer. Working on this project was so rewarding, especially when I would arrive onsite to an excited chorus of “Acorn’s here!” I believe the campers greatly enjoyed the activities I completed with them and it is my hope that they continue to feel the same kind of passion for their natural surroundings even after the summer is long over.
I am pursuing a degree in sustainability and biology at Dalhousie University and I am really looking forward to entering my second year with some environmental field work under my belt! Between seine fishing, planting a rain garden and even just spending time in the office around professional biologists, this job has given me so many memories and experiences that I can take with me as I work through my degree and beyond. I am so grateful to have had the chance to work alongside people who are truly making a difference in this increasingly relevant field. It is more important now than ever to include as many people in environmental outreach as possible, especially youth. It makes me feel very fortunate that I was able to influence so many young people in my community this summer. I taught them not only to make more eco-friendly, sustainable choices but to make time to enjoy nature and I encourage anyone who may be reading this to do the same!