2016 Summer Intern Update

As we hit mid-July, only halfway through summer and three full lightings in, we wanted to take time to reflect on these past few weeks and all that we’ve accomplished as a team. Our WaterFire interns have been sharing their day-to-day experiences and event day stories through our blog, interns.waterfire.org. Throughout the 13 different departments within our Providence office on Regent Ave, the interns have been working closely with seasoned staff to learn the ins and outs of the production and execution of the fantastic event that is WaterFire.

Like what you read here? Apply for an internship in one of our many departments! Internship opportunities for Fall 2016 are available now on our website.

2016 Summer Interns

2016 Summer Interns, Photo by Betsy Jones

Most of us started our summer internships in WaterFire’s schoolhouse office in Providence. Here, we are invited to sit in on staff/partner meetings, carry out assignments/projects for our departments, keep up with WaterFire projects, pitch ideas and share input, eat candy, and much more.

“On Tuesday I had the opportunity to sit in on the Capital Campaign Meeting. It was super informative and interesting to hear about the numbers behind the progress of the building, and to see an actual breakdown of what money goes where… I’m happy I got a glimpse into the status of the building and a shot at understanding the intricacies that pertain to such an undertaking.” –Anna Ferrato, Nonprofit Management

“During my time at WaterFire,  I have had the opportunity to work on a number of projects involving data entry and updating, document editing, and donor outreach. Additionally, I’ve sat in on staff meetings, ran important errands, and learned how to maneuver WaterFire’s primary database.” –Gabrielle Watson, Marketing and Development

Aside from our intern orientation where we met all our fellow interns, we participate in an annual scavenger hunt which helps us get to know each other.

“Last week was a crazy one, I finally finished up the corrections to the NetWorks RI site, and participated in (and won!!) the intern scavenger hunt!  My team was awesome; we worked really well together and had lots of fun running around Providence trying to solve clues and find landmarks (like the giant chicken pictured [below]). I can’t wait to see what new adventures this week brings!” –Amy Lavigne, Social Media Intern

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Photo by Anna Palmer

Photo by Anna Palmer

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Photo by Amy Lavigne

Photo by Amy Lavigne

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A cohesive, tight-knit staff makes WaterFire run smoothly and successfully. We all enjoy working together and are always willing to help one another out. The office environment among the full-time staff and the interns is a welcoming and creative space.

“Being a part of the WaterFire crew has been such an amazing experience.  I have learned so much and come to appreciate the event world from a whole new light. Knowing that I am a part of an event that reaches thousands of people is so rewarding and I am excited to continue learning and growing from WaterFire!” –Natalie Morin, Volunteer Management and Engagement
“My experience has been greatly impacted by the awesome people who work here along with me, ranging from department supervisors to my fellow Marketing & Development interns.  Their passion and excitement for this organization inspires me and makes me proud to be a part of something so spectacular.” -Gabrielle Watson, Marketing and Development

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Photo by Leslie Feliz

Photo by Leslie Feliz

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Photo by Ali Fortier

Photo by Ali Fortier

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The days leading up to the lightings are busy and exciting, with everyone making preparations and going through their checklists, which makes WaterFire possible. Interns learn the precise, methodic process for the construction of WaterFire that takes place for each individual lighting. Although we might not get it completely right the first time, we learn from our mistakes and take those lessons into consideration for the next fire:

“Saturday was my second fire and it was even better than the first!  Now that we’ve figured things out and gotten into a rhythm, set-up went so much faster and we were actually ready several hours before the lighting even began.” –Ali Fortier, Branding and Merchandise

“Each time a new WaterFire event approaches, I feel less nervous and more excited than the last.  I started off the day on June 18th by going around during set-up and interviewing staff, interns, and volunteers about their responsibilities during an event day and getting their responses on their feelings towards a WaterFire event.  It was so fun getting to hear everyone talk so passionately about WaterFire and it made me appreciate my role in WaterFire even more. ”-Sarah Daebler, Videography

“The air of anticipation floated through the office as Saturday’s event drew closer. I’ve attended a WaterFire before, but this experience is bound to be completely different. Seeing how much effort goes into every detail, every element of this installation is phenomenal. I am very excited (and a little nervous, I admit) for my first event. The passion for this art installation glows brilliantly in everyone’s eyes. How could they not with an event so magical and inspiring? And I am so glad I get to be a part of it.” –Marissa Pesak, Special Events and Operations

“I experienced the fast pace thinking and action taking needed to be able to execute an event. It was exciting to see the night play out, and the crowds reactions to the different displays of the night! Seeing exactly how everything is set up and performed makes me appreciate how dedicated and motivated the staff of WaterFire is, and I am so excited to work alongside of them this season now that I have a better understanding and more knowledge on WaterFire events as a whole!!” – Kimberly Hoyt, Special Events and Operations

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Photo by Melissa Bassett

Photo by Melissa Bassett

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Photo by Amy Lavigne

Photo by Amy Lavigne

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As the burning fires fade out, the work begins. Interns, staff, and volunteers work together to strike the tents, lights, merchandise, booths– everything. It’s a long night, but the work seems to breeze by as the interns are entranced from their long but fulfilling day.

“It is the day after working my first WaterFire and I woke up sore, tired, and extremely grateful of the experience I had… The feeling of helping put something together (and take it all down later) is hard to describe. It was so fulfilling to see everything come together, even if I was just a small part of the puzzle.”    –Melissa Bassett, Special Events and Operations

“While [strike seemed] daunting at first, it turned out to be a unique process. The interns performed as a team doing work that is not a typical aspect of the intern experience. (I am referring to the garbage retrieval portion of the night, some of which I do not especially wish to relive by explaining.) It was nice to have multiple people in the same shoes, however.” –Cristina Drimbarean, Marketing and Development

“The time at WaterFire has been amazing and I have been able to apply everything that I learn towards my own goals but I think the best part about Waterfire is the production. Even the clean up is fun and exciting (But the trash underneath my fingernails is certainly not fun).” – Horace L. Robinson Jr., Nonprofit Management

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Photo by Anna Palmer

Photo by Anna Palmer

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Photo by Natalie Morin

Photo by Natalie Morin

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One of the greatest things about WaterFire is that it brings people together– it brings the staff, interns, and volunteers together to create an amazing and unique event; it brings the people of Rhode Island to our state’s capital to experience the beauty of Providence and its art; it brings visitors from all over the world to our little state; and it creates a community of people who appreciate WaterFire and Rhode Island Arts. All of the interns rave about their WaterFire experiences and come out of the program with a new appreciation for the hard work, energy, and beauty of WaterFire.

“Working for Barnaby has been very rewarding as it has encouraged me to learn about new things I would not learn about out of my interest. Not only does this invite me to expand my knowledge about the world around me but it also invites me to learn about myself in terms of expanding/demonstrating to me the things I did not know I would be interested in or the things I am capable of doing. The Arts Management Internship has been constantly opening windows for me.. [and has] helped me see what the Providence culture and the Rhode Island culture altogether is really about, and all the types of things it has to offer.” –Leslie Feliz, Arts Management

“I can sincerely say that I’ve found what I was looking for at WaterFire. Since starting, I feel significantly more in touch with my community, my state, and the arts here in Rhode Island. More importantly I’ve also found that I love being a part of a company that gives back to residents and visitors of our wonderful state.” –Anna Palmer, Social Media

“The people that I have met through this internship and the memories that I have made so far are even more wonderful than I had anticipated going into this experience, and I can’t wait to see what WaterFire has in store next.” –Amy Lavigne, Social Media & Photography

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Photo by Amy Lavigne

Photo by Amy Lavigne

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Photo by Ali Fortier

Photo by Ali Fortier

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As we look towards the next half of the summer, we are excited for what awaits us. We have some awesome lightings coming up which are sure to be great events. Our passion and appreciation for WaterFire will continue to deepen as we work hard throughout the next few weeks.

Photo by Amy Lavigne

Photo by Amy Lavigne

About the author

Intern, optimist, beach bum.

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