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SPAA Internship Spotlight: Renaldo Johnson – Rising Stars Sports Academy and Summer Camp

Name: Renaldo N. Johnson Sr.
Degree Program: Bachelor of Arts 
Major: Public and Nonprofit Administration
Graduation Month/Year: December 2023
Name of Organization: Rising Stars Sports Academy and Summer Camp
Location of Internship: Newark, NJ
Title: Administrative Assistant/Assistant Counselor
Dates of Internship: May to August 2023

Summary of Responsibilities:
My duties included assisting to make sure campers were properly registered with all required documentation (emergency contact info, required physical) on file, making sure campers were properly signed in and out daily, and completing logistical tasks (making sure items and equipment were delivered for events). As an assistant counselor, I had the opportunity to coach and mentor select groups of campers during daily camp activities and on camp field trips.

How did the service-learning course help you navigate your internship responsibilities?
I am a non-traditional student who has already had multiple careers. Taking this course helped me humble myself and take advantage of the opportunity that was before me.

What kind of skills did you learn during this internship?
As an intern I was able to follow the director and the assistant director each day and had a front row seat to all the challenges they faced daily. I learned to balance scheduling daily activities with staffing flexibility. I learned how to keep track of staff hours, and plan for staff shortages. Prior to this internship I would say my ability to plan was one of my weaknesses but this opportunity has helped me to greatly improve in that area.

Has your mentoring part of the internship been helpful in navigating your career goals?
My career goal is to be a human resource manager; in some ways this internship gave me a direct glimpse into what it will be like to manage a group of people daily.

Anything else you wish to add?
As a non-traditional student who has had a career for years, I did not believe this internship was necessary for me. I was wrong; this internship gave me the opportunity to see what it takes to run a non-profit organization day to day, the decisions needed to make sure that things run smoothly and most importantly, how to pivot and work around the adversity and issues that the organization faces daily.