Just over a month ago I began working as an intern at Piney Campground in the small town of Dover, Tennessee. Mostly, its what you would expect at a campground – retired couples, families on vacation, poor cell phone service, boats and golf carts, and plenty of wildlife. The insects and frogs at night are an ensemble screaming that the nearest gas station is at least ten miles down the road and the birds taunt you all throughout the day. I imagine the birds are probably mocking us, laughing as we attempt to send a text message.
As an intern, I get to be responsible for doing a multitude of things. My main role is to help out in the Piney Outpost – a convenient store located here on the campground for people to get just about anything they could need or want at a campground. Here, the person I spend most of my time working with is our “Residential Brit,” Button. We chat about the orange oaf that is our president, gun control, rude customers, our respective blogs, how we drink our coffee and tea, and cultural differences between here and the UK. When we aren’t doing stupid dance moves or discussing Game of Thrones, we spend time stocking the shelves, taking care of guests, and answering phone calls that always seem to be for our boss. It’s nice to have a coworker capable of engaging in stimulating conversation as well as being silly and having a good time in the process.
As an intern, one of my other primary responsibilities is to plan activities for the campers who stay here throughout the summer. Last weekend we had a cornhole tournament that turned out to have 18 teams. Getting to plan these events, spend time with the campers, and see an activity be successful are some of the most fulfilling parts of the work that I do here.
Finally, once a week I get to fill in as the campground’s reservationist. This is possibly the most interesting thing that I get to do. The job, more or less, consists of me sitting in an office answering phone calls that are somewhat far and few between. I never know what to expect when I answer the phone. People calling to reserve a campsite for the 4th of July only a week ahead of time (like a campground in western Tennessee is going to NOT be completely booked for the biggest summer holiday in the nation), asking me about campgrounds that are not even a part of Land Between the Lakes, or telling me that we discriminate against handicapped people because of our small quantity of handicap campsites available. Every once in while I MIGHT get someone actually wanting to make a legitimate reservation. It is actually quite fun talking to most of the people I speak with, even if there are a few that seem to forget that on the other end of a phone is an actual human being.
Here at Piney I have to deal with stupid questions, computer systems crashing and refusing to take a credit card, and the spontaneity that comes with working at a campground. None of this, however, makes this any less of a good experience. Nothing will ever be ideal – this is something I learned at a young age. I try my best not to complain too much as I roll with the punches and wish that I had enough signal to put Button dancing on my Snapchat story. The craziest part is that this internship isn’t related to my major at all, and it is certainly not what I want to do with my life. Yet, it is still a wonderful time that I am blessed to be a part of.