In the fall of 2018, Pemi identified an emerging challenge and started to brainstorm. Increasingly, our best staff members were finding it difficult to return for that third or fourth season, the one where their wisdom and experience make a huge difference for the Pemi community. Instead, in this intensely competitive national work climate, they felt pressure to diversify their resumes by securing a professional internship to improve their odds at landing an ideal job. So we thought, our alumni and parent networks are vast; let’s connect our most talented counselors—the ones we really want to keep in the fold for an additional summer or two—with a 4-to 6-week internship designed to take place between the end of their undergraduate school year in the early spring and before the start of their summer work at Pemi. By facilitating our counselors in this way, we might also allow them to extend their time at Pemi, taking on positions with increased responsibilities that they are unlikely to be offered in other work settings. We called our idea the “Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative.”
The Program Launches
For over a century, counselors at Pemi have developed essential life skills that are sought after in the wider world: leadership techniques, oral and written communication skills, time-management routines, the ability to solve problems and guide others to do the same, and all while working with others in a communal setting. Generations of counselors who have graduated to the broader working world tell us that these skills that they acquired during their summers as counselors at Pemi have served them incredibly well in any number of professional work settings.
So, last winter, we asked three alumni about Pemi’s idea to facilitate meaningful connections for our counselors through professional internships. They not only responded enthusiastically, but each went on to create a spring internship position within his field, allowing three talented Pemi counselors to gain crucial professional experience and to return to work at camp for the summer. We give hearty thanks to Greg Bowes (Albright Capital, Washington, D.C.), Bob Hogue (In-Depth Engineering, Columbia, MD), and Roger McEniry (Dolan McEniry Capital Management LLC, Chicago, IL) for helping us launch the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative.
Year 1 of the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative
After nine summers at Pemi—seven as a camper and two as a counselor—Daniel Bowes hoped to return to Pemi in 2019. Daniel, an Economics major in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University, also sought a traditional internship in financial services, economics, or consulting fields that would be a valuable steppingstone to serve his long-term professional goals. Daniel was conflicted, as an internship would rule out a return to Pemi, even though he was ready to assume a position at camp that would give him greater managerial experience.
Alumnus Roger McEniry, managing partner of Dolan McEniry Capital Management LLC, started his Pemi career as a camper in 1967 and after six summers, began a distinguished career as a Pemi counselor and Division Head. When Roger learned about Daniel’s professional goals, he sponsored a 5-week internship positioned between Daniel’s last exam at Lehigh and his first summer obligation at Pemi so he might, “learn new, practical skills and build his resumé and then return to Pemi to fill an important role that would benefit the camp community.”
While at Dolan McEniry, Daniel was exposed to the intricacies of the corporate bond market, from researching market factors to investing protocols to evaluating the quality of companies. Daniel shared, “I learned how to act professionally in an office setting, received resumé guidance, and went through mock interview situations. I continued my practice with Microsoft Excel and applied concepts from class work such as financial statement analysis.” Daniel entered his internship with excellent “soft skills” that he’d developed as a counselor at Pemi, including listening closely and communicating clearly, team building, and personal accountability, which served him well in building rapport with his new mentors. “The investment team was generous with their time, expertise, and patience,” said Daniel. “They gave me meaningful projects, provided excellent guidance, and encouraged questions.” Roger was equally positive. “We loved having Daniel at Dolan McEniry. He was great to have around, made a solid contribution in a short period of time, and learned a lot.”
Daniel’s 2019 summer, his 10th total at Pemi, was also a great success. Assuming the demanding position of Junior Camp Division Head, he oversaw a staff of 10 counselors and 40 boys and did an excellent job guiding our youngest Division. His peers awarded him with the Joe Campbell Award at the end of the summer, given to the Pemi Counselor who brings (among other attributes) integrity, generosity, and happiness to others. Daniel’s two summer opportunities—an internship in finance and an increased position of leadership at Pemi—both contributed to his continued growth (and his standout resumé), while both organizations benefitted from his participation.
Pemi counselors Ned Roosevelt and Patterson Malcolm shared similar outstanding experiences. Ned’s 5-week internship at Albright Capital in Washington, D.C. offered him the chance to enhance his technical skills in Microsoft Excel and Bloomberg Terminal but to also learn about the field of emerging markets private investments. Ned is currently a Senior at Wheaton College studying Business Administration and Management. In being able to have a solid internship and then return to Pemi in the role of Lower Division Head, Ned said, “A large part of why my experience was so positive during my internship was because of the support from the people at Albright Capital. I, in turn, wanted to help create a positive experience for everyone at camp this summer.”
Patterson, majoring in Engineering at Swarthmore College, was given the rare opportunity at In-Depth Engineering in Columbia, MD, whose core business is the development of software systems for the United States Department of Defense. Patterson was given challenging and rewarding tasks, furthering his coding skills to improve himself as an engineer. He noted, “In-Depth really used their program to help further the development of their interns. I felt supported from the top-down and part of the team.” Patterson is currently exploring the possibility of joining In-Depth for further employment in the future.
In both cases, their practical experience in a professional setting furthered their understanding in their respective disciplines and subsequently enhanced their managerial and supervisory roles at Pemi. Again, a win-win for all involved and a model of the Pemi network in action.
Given the successful launch of this program, we are looking to further grow the Pemi Counselor Internship Initiative, and are asking members of the extended Pemi community—especially our Alumni and Parent networks—to consider sponsoring an internship for a qualified, ambitious staff member who will bring the strong skills and community values developed through his work at Pemi.
This year’s veteran staff members are particularly strong, and are looking for experiences in the following fields. If you are involved or connected in any of these areas, or are in another field and interested in sponsoring an internship or by assisting in professional networking, please be in touch.
- computer science
- marketing & advertising
Thank you for supporting the Pemi community in our ongoing efforts to retain strong role models at camp while remaining relevant in today’s competitive environment. Key internships will allow us to keep these outstanding young adults—Pemi’s “culture bearers”—for one or two more summers where they can do a world of good for campers before they move on to their future successful professions.