Summer Internship Program: Orange County

Orange County

Primary Program Area Focus: 4-H

1. Describe your plans for this internship.  (i.e. What specifically will the intern be doing?)

The Orange County internship will provide great exposure to an Extension career, including special projects, programming to meet community needs, and exposure to interdisciplinary programming by the office team. The intern will work under the direction of the 4-H Extension Agent/Unit Coordinator and in partnership with the office’s 4-H Youth Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Agent, and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent.  

The Orange office staff is committed to a positive internship experience and will be flexible in allowing and encouraging the intern to develop programs or experiences in specific areas of personal interest, as long as those programs meet locally identified needs. Candidates will work on planned programs, but will also be able to customize the internship as needed. 

Specific programs that will involve the intern include: 

  • Assume a leadership role in providing and managing 4-H programs and Extension presence at the Orange County Fair (June 23-26, 2021), to include assisting volunteers with show management, clerking the 4-H livestock auction, and supporting 4-H members in their project work.

  • Assume a large role in planning and managing 4-H Cloverbud Day Camp (July 26-30, 2021) for youth ages 5-8. 

  • Help administer healthy living programming for Extension’s role in an HCAT (Healthy Community Action Team) grant aimed at reducing youth childhood obesity. 

  • Serve on the planning team and help staff 4-H TACO (Therapeutic Adventure Camp of Orange) for children with disabilities. Partner with over 50 volunteers to deliver this educational, long-standing 4-H day camp tradition in the county. 

  • Assist the FCS agent with food preservation workshops, to include procurement of food/produce, incorporation of food safety protocols, and teaching youth and adult audiences. 

  • Support ANR agent in farm visits, small group work, and educational programs for livestock and crops. 

  • Help evaluate existing Extension programs for educational quality, behavior changes, and increased life skills.  

  • Conduct exit interviews with graduating 4-H seniors and publish feature stories on each of these youth. 

  • Enhance the local unit’s online presence through blogging, social media, and Google products. Maintain existing 4-H presence and help establish for FCS and ANR. 

2. Describe the knowledge / skills you expect the intern to gain from this experience.

This internship will be managed in a way that allows the intern to gain maximum knowledge of Extension programming and skills necessary for an Extension career. Interpersonal skills and strong communication skills will be of the utmost importance and will be stressed as the intern forms positive relationships with officemates, local citizens, farm producers, and youth. These people skills will be developed through teaching, promotion, group classes or workshops, and one-on-one work with stakeholders. The intern will have a varied schedule, depending on programs planned and the needs of stakeholders, so time management will be an important skill. The successful candidate will learn the Extension Programming Model and implement the model in new and existing programs. Additionally, planning and organizational skills will be strengthened through program delivery, data handling, and program support. There will be extensive computer use, especially Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Google Drive. Finally, the intern will help evaluate the effectiveness of Extension programs and learn how agents have to communicate the value of those impacts to others. 

3. How will the intern learn about the breadth of VCE and our various program areas?

The intern will work with all three program areas (4-H, FCS, ANR), including three agents, one full-time 4-H Educator, and two unit support staff, to gain a better understanding of programs provided by VCE and the planning that goes into quality, educational, community-based programs.  A strong office team is currently in place and the intern will be expected to join the team approach to programming. There will also be a couple of opportunities to partner with neighboring Madison County Extension staff and interns for specific programs. 

The intern’s training and responsibilities will be carried out in a hands-on manner.  This is not simply an observational opportunity, but rather a chance for the intern to be trained by VCE and then educate the community based on this training and under the supervision of Extension staff.  The intern will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the role that VCE plays in the community through partnerships and collaboration.  Current community partners include Orange County Fair Association, Orange Office on Youth, Orange Parks and Rec, Senior Nutrition Site, Central Virginia Cattlemen's Association, Virginia Tech’s Northern Piedmont Center, local agribusinesses, and more than 500 community volunteers. The intern will be given an opportunity to explore ways in which he/she can obtain a career in Extension, while working with experienced agents.