“Sport has the power to change the world.
Sports Commission Internship Teaches Life Skills
In today’s college curriculum, an internship is essentially required. After graduating from Davenport University with degrees in accounting and sports management, I found myself going back to finish my master’s degree. I needed an internship, and some of the organizations at the top of my list were the Meijer State Games of Michigan and the West Michigan Sports Commission. This amazing opportunity has allowed me to blend my two degrees into one experience in an internship that I truly enjoy.
I’d love to share the best parts of my internship so far!
1. Working on the Meijer State Games
Every year, the Meijer State Games of Michigan and the West Michigan Sports Commission put on two Olympic-style sport competitions – one in the summer and one in the winter. As an intern in the winter months, working on the Winter Games has been one of my main projects. I have worked on the logistics for almost every one of the 20 sports that were also featured in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, and I can tell you that there is so much that happens behind the scenes that athletes and fans do not see. The individuals who work to put on these sports go above and beyond. Each sport was able to run smoothly (most of the time!) because of everyone’s dedication and hard work.
2. Learning new skills
I first joined the State Games and West Michigan Sports Commission in mid-December when the State Games team was in the process of creating a new website and developing an app. I had no prior experience in either but was expected to jump right in. It took several tries to figure out how to use the system, and after asking questions and playing around in the application, I became more familiar with it. Now it has become second nature. Working within the website and app are parts of my internship that I do on a weekly basis, and now that I have experience with it, I have the ability to take this knowledge with me when it is ultimately time to leave.
3. Giving back to the community
Growing up serving in my community was a staple in my household and was expected at a young age. When I moved to Grand Rapids for college, that aspect took a backseat. However, now I am able to give back to the communities and the city that has given me so much in my time here. For me, seeing an athlete compete in a sport that he or she has trained at for years and be truly happy after winning a gold is all the thanks I need for the hours I put in. The State Games of Michigan and the West Michigan Sports Commission really do so much for the area – not only impacting the economy but also the lives of the people who compete, volunteer, and live in the area. Check out all the ways you, too, can volunteer through the West Michigan Sports Commission.
4. Working with great people
As with every organization or company, it is the people who make interning at the State Games and West Michigan Sports Commission worth it. With such a small staff working long hours together, it is important that you enjoy who you work with. I know that I can turn to anyone here, and they are willing to help me. While we do work hard, we also like to have fun. Some days, the bosses will take the office to play pinball to relax and create some interoffice competition, or pelt us with stress balls. (Seriously!) The people who work at the Sports Commission, State Games, and Art Van Sports Complex are some of the hardest working, most experienced, and knowledgeable people with whom I have ever worked. I am thankful that I get to work with these individuals on a daily basis and can’t wait to see what I’m able to learn from them.
It’s your turn!
The State Games of Michigan, West Michigan Sports Commission, and Art Van Sports Complex are always looking for motivated college students or recent graduates to intern each semester (January - May, May - August and September – December). Interns can work in a variety of positions, including operations, logistics, volunteer management, marketing/public relations, hospitality, accounting, graphic design and grounds/turf. While interning, students gain a wealth of knowledge that can’t be taught inside a classroom or at another company.
In fact, they’re looking right now for interns for the May - August semester for both the West Michigan Sports Commission and State Games of Michigan-Summer Games. The WMSC internship deadline is March 16 (see downloadable application), and the State Games internship deadline is March 20 (see downloadable application).
Learn more about the internship program here, including deadlines, requirements and how to apply. You just might be the next intern at the West Michigan Sports Commission!
Eight years ago, my husband, Andy Vidro, and I got the idea to organize triathlons in the Grand R