2022 Season Wrap Up: Events and Partnership Intern

26, Aug, 2022

Written by Madeleine Yancy, Events and Partnership Intern

As a recent graduate from North Carolina with a degree in Neuroscience and a (hopefully) soon-to-be medical student, spending my post-graduate summer in an events and programming internship at a park in Boston was somewhat unexpected. To others, perhaps confusing. But to me, it made perfect sense. 

I fell in love with the Rose Kennedy Greenway during a weeklong visit to Boston in the summer of 2021. I wandered what felt like the entire city that week, but The Greenway would stand out in my mind weeks and months later as an example of a dynamic green space in the middle of a bustling city that strove to create a sense of community through collaboration with local businesses, artists, and organizers. I grew up in a culturally-rich hometown that prided itself on its creation of community, and as a future doctor, I view my eventual career to be founded upon connection with others. So when I came across the Greenway Conservancy internship posting, it felt like a stroke of fate opening a path to the development of new skills in an organization aligned with my own values and goals.

Boston Dance Theater performs on Rings Fountain while community members watch

My time as an intern at the Conservancy has been everything I could have hoped for and more. I was pushed out of my comfort zone in a field I had never worked in before, requiring a rapid learning curve of regulations, permitting, and event planning. One of my favorite long term projects has been assisting with the Greenway Summer Fitness Program, which provides free outdoor fitness classes to the public almost every day of the week. Beyond helping with the logistical and analytical details of this program, I attended many of the classes myself. As a runner, I enjoyed exploring new methods of movement such as HIIT, yoga, and even parkour on The Greenway’s lush green lawns while the city bustled around me.

Yoga with Hannah class taking place on a sunny day on Rowes Wharf

My biggest responsibility became Truck & Tractor Day, an event planned entirely by the other Programs interns and myself. Our original plan was for the event to consist simply of the Conservancy’s horticulture and maintenance vehicles parked on The Greenway for children to explore. However, with the help of a few colleagues, Truck & Tractor Day ended up involving over fifteen vehicles from institutions and organizations across Boston, spanning two parcels of the park. It was incredibly rewarding to see the joy children found in clambering onto each vehicle, petting the Boston Park Rangers’ horse, and decorating play cars. It was even enjoyable to hear them (repeatedly) sounding the sirens because it meant they were having a good time, which made all of our hard work worth it. While Truck & Tractor Day was fun, its organization also showed me the detailed requirements of event planning and park organization I had neither seen nor appreciated before, as did much of my work with the Conservancy.

The three Programs interns with a Greenway tractor on Truck & Tractor Day

I’ve often heard the saying ‘it’s the people who make the place,’ but my work at the Conservancy gave new meaning to the phrase, as the people I met quite literally made, supported, and built the place. I connected with formerly incarcerated youth beginning new careers as personal trainers in a free fitness class held by InnerCity Weightlifting: they laughed and joked while they exhausted me with squat jumps and burpees. I spoke with a young man about his love for biology at the Coolidge’s Science on Screens series, one of my favorite events.

Hundreds of people listen to a talk about ornithology before watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds during the Coolidge Theater’s Science on Screen Series

Perhaps most importantly, I learned from and gained immense respect for my co-workers at the Conservancy. For the Horticulture team, who sustainably grow and care for hundreds of plants on an urban park with limited soil depth—a task I have appreciated as more and more difficult the more I learn about it. For my Programs team, who consistently impressed me with their dedication to going above and beyond for the public and any event which might bring them fulfillment. For my fellow interns, Wendy and Eliza, who bore my bad jokes and took on moving heavy tents and tables with me. When I return to The Greenway, I may no longer carry my MassDOT employee badge or my Sunhiker intern backpack, but I will always bring the lessons I have gained in patience, perseverance, and human connection. 

The Programs Team at an All-Staff social at one of Boston Calling’s Block Parties


Summer workforce development opportunities on The Greenway are made possible with the generous support of Citizens.