It took us three and half months of searching through countless applications and Skype interviews to select the best 18 candidates to serve as the spring intern class of 2012. But once it was done, a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders as I knew we had a solid group that would start working in March.
On March 19, eighteen smiling faces walked through the doors of the AJGA’s National Headquarters and nervously shook my hand. Not only were they meeting me in person for the first time, but they were meeting each other. I was even a little unsure of how everyone would get along at first. Everyone was so quiet and it was like pulling teeth to get them to laugh at my jokes! However, after being in their shoes once before, even I understood that all the Facebook messages and tweets couldn’t prepare you for what it is like to meet the individuals you are about to spend the next six weeks with. After a few icebreaker activities and more horrible jokes from me, they were able to bond and begin to mold as teammates.
All of them came prepared with a blank notebook and a freshly sharpened pencil ready to take notes and soak up as much information they could about the AJGA. For seven days, they were taught the ins and outs of our organization and how we successfully execute national golf tournaments. The AJGA staff was organized and detailed in their training to make sure everyone was on the same page. By the end of the week, they were ready to put their skills to work at a mock tournament at Chateau Élan. Setting tees, checking hole locations, starting, rules officiating, photography, timing stations, scoring, post-round recaps, interviewing and breaking down the course were all put into action as things started to come together.
Finally, training had come to a close and the day had come for me to feel like a “Mama Bird” sending her young ones off to stretch their wings for the first time. Team 1 set off for North Carolina, Team 2 went south to Savannah, Georgia and Team 3 embarked on the first long road trip to Dallas. When they pulled out of the parking lot I knew it’d be the last time I’d see most of them (I was able to work with Team 2 over Easter) until they pulled back into our parking lot on May 7th. But thank goodness for technology – I’m able to still communicate with them via Twitter, email and texting.
It’s been 30 days on the road so far and they are in their fifth week of events for the AJGA. And from what I’ve gathered everyone is having a great time so far! Aside from the early morning wake-up calls, meeting the next generation of junior golfers and current PGA TOUR players has really made the experience for some even more memorable. Some have had the chance to meet AJGA National Chairman Hunter Mahan – even I’m jealous!
As the spring season comes to a close in the next two weeks, I am very proud of the work they have all done because without them we cannot run tournaments. They have exceeded my expectations and I’m so happy they’ve been able to be a part of an extraordinary internship.
So now the countdown begins again…. Only 27 days till I become Mama Bird again when 54 of our summer interns show up for training!
- by Lauren Shelly, AJGA Manager of Recruiting and Special Events