Our Summer Intern Journey
A Blog from the Hearts & Minds of Charli Uhlrich & Michael Keenan, 2019 Interns to the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
You think you really know someone– and then you travel 3,011 miles with them. From Memphis to Winchester to Huntsville to McKenzie to West Lafayette, with many stops along the way, this summer has been one to remember. Tasks were accomplished, jokes were told, sweets were devoured, and friendships were made. This summer, we, Charli Jeanine Uhlrich and Michael Thomas Keenan, had the honor of serving as interns to the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Nathan Thomas Wheeler. And this is our story.
Before we begin, we would like to share a bit about how all of this began. As Cumberland Presbyterians, our history is vital to our identity. Therefore, we feel it is important that you understand a little of the history behind this internship. It was actually Charli who first suggested to Nathan that he should create an intern position during the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Three years and three interns later, Michael and Charli got the job.
It was a sunny, slightly humid morning in late May. Due to unforeseeable car troubles for one of the interns,Michael and Charli carpooled to the denominational center for their first day to begin their grand adventure. After a cup of coffee and a quick discussion on personalities, we were briefed on what our job as Nathan’s interns was going to look like. Formally put, we were told that we were going to
“Assist the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries with logistics of all summer activities through errand running, program assistance, organization and planning and implementation of assigned roles for given activities and trips for the summer. The intern(s) will serve at the request of the Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and other denominational staff as needed.” With a dream and a cardigan, we hit the ground running with a full schedule ahead of us.
This summer, we were able to attend many wonderful Cumberland Presbyterian events. We started out by first attending the Tennessee Synod Senior High Camp (Synodic) at Crystal Springs Campground where we served as part of the worship band and as cabin counselors. When that ended, we helped out at the Winchester Children’s Fest. From there, we traveled to the General Assemblies of the Cumberland Presbyertian Church and the Cumberland Presybertian Church in America which met simultaneously. One week later, we journeyed to Bethel University for the Cumberland Presbyterian Youth Conference (CPYC). When that was over, we had a week of office work before returning to Bethel to serve at the McKenzie Children’s Fest. Immediately following, we stayed at Bethel for a gathering of those participating in Kaleo, a year-long mentorship program for youth who are exploring God’s call in their life vocation.
To finish our travels for the summer, we then trekked to Purdue University for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT). After all of these experiences, we both agree that one of our favorite parts of the internship was getting to help lead worship at Syondic Camp as well as getting to meet thousands of new friends at our CumberLAND booth in the exhibit hall at PYT.
As a parting thought, we would love to share a lyric from the song that became our summer anthem (“Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey) that encapsulates how we are leaving this internship– “You’ll always be a part of me.” Peace, friends.