May 212013

My week Interning with Athens’ Own was unforgettable. My favorite memories were riding around the back roads in the truck with Constantine as we ran business errants, selling delicious, handcrafted foods at the bustling farmer’s market, and getting to visit the shared community workspace building where Constantine prepared his products for market. I had no idea that running a business could be so much fun. There were so many people we got to chat with throughout the day, and new ideas for the business were constantly being developed. There was so much potential for new things Athens Own could sell or do for the community that would both generate funds and serve a crucial role in someone else’s operations. I learned that creative thinkers go far in this environment, because they can see the potential in new business ideas, develop those ideas, and implement them.

Not only did I have a great time helping Constantine run the business, but I also learned how interconnected a business can be with its community. Rather than competing against other local businesses that are all selling the same products, Constantine’s business takes other business’ raw products, such as fresh hot peppers or savory beef, and turns them into value-added products for re-sale. Setting up at the market that Saturday, I felt proud to be part of an interactive enterprise who’s first priority wasn’t profits, and who’s items for sale were beautiful and irresistibly tasty. The shoppers at the market ate it up–literally.
Constantine’s business thrives off the success of other businesses and the prosperity of the people in his community. If that isn’t a better business model, I don’t know what is! Looking back on how much insight I gained while working with Athens’ Own, I would definitely recommend this internship to other college students.

May 202013

We have been asked if we can provide a kitchen and therefore cook at the Athens County Amateur Radio Association’s Field day event and I in turn have been tasked to evaluate that request. First, if you don’t happen to already know, field day is a 24 hour amateur radio event spanning the US and Canada, the goal of which is to contact as many stations as possible in that time. It usually takes place outdoors and with emergency power like solar power or a generator and so it’s sort of a test of amateur radio groups abilities to act in an emergency situation. Our role with the kitchen would be to provide food for all the hams working there and as a test to ourselves for the same thing: our ability to respond to and work in an emergency situation. I do believe that this field day event  is a good test because it is just like a normal emergency in that it is outdoors (not in the comfort of our homes), requires emergency power, lasts for a full 24 hours and we will even be working with the radio group as well which will make the experience even better. All these things are good if we intend to become a good team, especially if we want to perform well in an emergency situation. Above all that, I can’t think of one good reason not to cook at field day.

May 202013

For any current or future interns who have raised questions about editing logs: The way our logs are currently set up, interns can post entries but not edit them. This may seem like we are shutting people out and taking away control, but rather we have a very specific educational goal in mind with this action. First, we hope that by not allowing interns to edit logs, an intern will take the extra time to proofread and edit their own writing BEFORE posting it. Some of the logs have spelling errors, grammatical errors, etc. We hope that by drawing attention to the fact that it needs to be totally ready before it is posted will help remind our interns to take a few extra minutes to consciously proofread, or to get someone to proofread for them. A student wouldn’t ask to edit a school test after submitting it, and in a similar way, these logs are how we evaluate your writing skills, including an intern’s willingness to do their best even before submitting it.

Next, as it is mentioned in many places on this site, we want to develop transparent and open communication. For interns who want to make changes to their logs, they can either post a new revision, or add a comment to their log with their changes/ comments/ edits. By doing this, we have a running record of all the versions of the log document. This helps everyone see the thought process that happened between when the log was first written and the new ideas/ learning experiences which caused a desire to change what was written. If, after an intern wrote something, he/she had a new insight or something to add, we want to see both the original idea, and these new reflections. Again, this helps us see how an intern’s educational experience is progressing. It also helps us evaluate ourselves and to address problems with how we teach, to make it the best and most enjoyable learning environment. For example, this comment will hopefully help future interns to better understand some of the deeper purposes to the logs.


I hope this helps to better explain our reasoning behind the internship logs, and we would love to see any edits or updates as comments on existing logs, new logs, forum posts, on facebook, or any/all of the above. Thanks, and happy writing!


– Alyse

May 202013

Last week, I had the great pleasure to work on staff at Boy Scout National Camping School. Along with two other staffers, I was responsible for teaching a class of sixteen participants how to run a safe and fun ropes course program. We taught everything from theories and concepts to safety procedures, standards, and paperwork. The participants in our class left the week with not only a certification card, but also a sense of accomplishment and readiness to lead their respective programs at their summer camps. As I watched them all go their separate ways, I couldn’t help but think back to my first time at summer camp.

There was one staffer who I remember in particular as being incredibly crazy and funny but also sincerely kind and patient. He had just been through the National Camping School ropes course class, and he is the one who first introduced me to the ropes course program at our camp. I still remember the exact moment during our session when I decided I wanted to work for him and “learn the ropes”, if you’ll pardon the bad pun. I went on to work at that camp for five more years, and I succeeded him as the ropes course director, which meant I got to go through the course at National Camping School myself. I developed a deep love of the program and the effects it can have on groups and individuals.

In my time as a director, I can remember so many staff and scouts who I helped. Some learned merit badges from me, some went on to be leaders at that same camp, their councils, and their communities, and some are still my best friends to this day. If you consider that all of those scouts were affected by me, and I was just one of the scouts affected by that staff member, and he was just one of the participants at his NCS session, that’s an almost unfathomable ripple effect. So, almost six years later to the day, as I watched the class I had just spent a week teaching and befriending reluctantly leave an incredible week to return to their camps, I thought about the ripple I had started, and I wondered in that moment just how many scouts I would have indirectly affected by the end of the summer. Scouts and staffers who I would never meet, but who would go on to do great things because I taught their teachers.


After a week and a realization like that, returning to my daily tasks at Athens’ Own brought on a strange reflection: That although I have a similar position here as a teacher and a leader, I don’t really feel that same ripple effect. It might be because I started near the top, and didn’t get to experience as much of the outer ripples, or maybe because I haven’t been here as long, or that it is much harder to imagine the effects I might have from here. I certainly don’t think there is any less potential here. In fact, I think there is more. I have the potential to help shape an educational system which could help countless students and communities. But right now, it seems like the way our program is set up, there are some problems, and it isn’t producing the results we want, and the ripples are getting lost somewhere.

With this reflection, as well as some other feedback from the team during my absence, Constantine and I have decided to take a step back, and to take a critical look at how we are teaching our interns. We need to find a new way to expand education and to improve how much and how well our interns learn and apply their knowledge. Starting from scratch again today, we are going to try to improve our plan to find and use the best possible resources to give them the best possible educational experience, and to help them develop their own passions, desire to learn, and their own infinite ripples.

May 142013

Monday, Constantine and I mainly only bagged coffee and cashews. The difference was in that Alyse was not here because she is still at her camper leader training camp, so Constantine and I had to manage by ourselves. It really gave me a chance to do both tasks without someone watching over and guiding me the whole time. I had to do them from start to finish mostly by myself (because Constantine was busy working with a broken scale) which is good because I now better know how to do them both all the way through by myself. That’s a good thing because if for some reason neither of the mare able to come to ACEnet, I am better able to do these things without assistance, if needed.

First on Tuesday, Constantine and I talked about me making myself a nice little workspace at home to keep all my AO papers and things safe because I seem to be able to lose whatever I bring home. After that, we mixed more cashews because we had used them all up on Monday. He showed me his style of the whole mixing process which was slightly different from Alyse’s. Both styles have their pluses and their minuses. After the cashews, we worked on pancake mix, which I had done anything with before. We started with mixing the flour and everything for the mix first, which was fun. After we mix all 75 pounds of it, we went on to bagging it. The pancake mix uses the same bags as the coffee does but is done a little differently in that the pancake mix goes in a separate plastic bag inside the paper one to keep it safer and so on. The paper bag also gets a single staple in it so that people don’t mess with it and open it. So another fun day with new things involved.

May 122013

Friday, Constantine and I first bagged a few bags of Highlander grog because we had only one bag left, which is not enough for the market the next day. That’s pretty good because that means that means the rest that we had bagged Monday or Tuesday had all been sold somewhere in the community. After we did that, I sauteed some more onions for the markets because we were getting low on those as well. Once the onions were done, we mixed some sauce to marinate tofu in. We made the sauce and cut three packages of tofu and put them in the sauce to start marinating. I also took two sandwiches worth and cooked them as I would at the market; tofu with onions and cheese on a birdseed bun. I don’t normally eat tofu but I did quite like this one as did the Crumb’s people that we gave some to.

After all that, we checked the coffee makers and their progress. (If I didn’t say before, we left the the tanks with the heaters full of vinegar to break down all of the deposits so we could clean it easier.) We opened them up and as expected, one of them was quite a bit better than the other one. The one, the calcium came right off when brushed and so was quite easy to clean. The other one wasn’t so lucky. It had a different  sort of deposit on it and the vinegar did not do nearly as good a job on it as it did on the other one. We cleaned the first one pretty well and then put the second one back to soak more and hopefully when we next check it, it will be cleanable.

May 072013

On Monday, Constantine and I mainly worked on some new coffee makers he had gotten.  We took the two of them apart, carefully, and I better saw how they heat the water and how the separate hot water spout works. We saw the different timers for the hot water because they are two different models. The one has a physical analog timer for the water heater and the other one has a digital timer. The cool thing is that the makers of the machine used the same maker and simply switched the analog for the digital one. They wired it to existing switches so they managed to effectively upgrade the coffee maker design without really changing it, besides the one timer. I think that’s the way to do it, if at all possible, to utilize the existing design of something instead of designing something completely new. While we were doing that, Katie and Alyse were doing coffee. After that, Katie and Constantine went to stock Seaman’s and Alyse and I jarred some more honey, which is always sweet.

Tuesday, we went to Broadwell again. We couldn’t do as much stuff outside because of the rain but there were other things to be done. I sewed a total of 30 beef bologna bags which was also my first time sewing at all. It was also more fun to do because they have and use an old pedal machine from the early 1900’s and so that was some work getting used to. I went out and helped Kathy a little with her compost stuff between the rain downpours. Right before we had to leave, we helped Constantine with the massive roll of cloth (for the meat bags) and helped him downsize it to be cut. I hadn’t really yet seen the cloth before it was on the meat and now I have and I can say I’ve even sewn some of the bags.

May 072013
Hello all Athens’ Own interns, volunteers, and supporters. This will be my last log as an Athens’ Own intern. The reason for my departure rests in the hands of a few pressures, disappointments, and lack of personal accountability. Athens’ Own has opened my mind to a new lifestyle; we are confronted with truths so great in our lives and sustainability (listening to the natural systems) consumed me. I built much pressure on myself to understand every aspect of the the sustainability movement that, at times, left me no time to be a full-time Athens’ Own intern. I found myself cynical about our society making a necessary change with a business-as-usual mindset. Activism research and development took over from there. I’ve tried to, as always, connect my education and focus at this school to the efforts I can bring in my toolkit for these initiatives. Sad to say that not too many people care about university divestment, renewable energy, preservation, conservation, and all the great ideas to save our planet. We are, as a society, in a crisis of consciousness, but I have hope.
My tendency to overload my time for such passions was another pressure in the way. One too many classes and a schedule addition of two jobs to save money made matters worse. I am sorry for neglecting the mission of Athens’ Own and my duty as an intern. With the built up time and energy I have given to Athens’ Own in addition to my own lack of responsibility I felt disappointed as well. I wanted to be a great advertising tool for Athens’ Own. All I wanted was to help spread the idea, be the voice and liaison, and develop events and discussions about the overall mission. I always thought the mission involved bringing in the community to the life of Athens’ Own, but I felt like most of my time went to labor of bagging coffee and properly stacking boxes. I understand that this is not part of the checklist of Athens’ Own duties. There is a process of getting to the next level of this internship, but I felt I did enough personally to be confident in my abilities. I let my desire to create content shadow the detailed syllabus of internship duties and requirements.
I am disappointed for not being able to that chance and I am disappointed in myself for disregarding the team values. I truly wish everyone that comes in contact with Athens’ Own gains as much as I have during the past year. I don’t want to lose my connection to Athens’ Own. I love the Farmer’s Market and the Broadwell Hill Learning Center because those were times I felt more alive. I felt like I was a valuable piece to a perpetual motion of moments for sustainable change.
Apr 302013

Yesterday, we first bagged more coffee because we were really low. We finished the coffee about the same time Katie got there. We then had to mix and bag more cashews because we had only one left, which is not very many. There wasn’t enough spice to mix any so Alyse and Katie had to mix some new spice. While they did that, I cut and wrapped cheese for Seaman’s for the first time by myself. I also grated more cheese for the Wednesday and Saturday markets. After those things, Constantine arrived and while he and Alyse talked about some things,  I showed Katie how to do the olives. I think that we did pretty good with both tasks in splitting up the tasks to make it more efficient and also go faster. Once done with all of that, Katie went with Constantine to inventory and stock Seaman’s with all of the things we had just packaged. While they did that, Alyse and I went to the conference room to stamp bags, which is always real fun. While Alyse talked to people ans placed orders, I probably stamped 150 bags, so hopefully we won’t have to stamp anymore anytime soon.

Apr 262013

Today, the three of us went to Broadwell for a work day there. This was my first time back there in maybe 1 1/2 years making it quite fun for me. After saying hi to Kathy and Constantine, the three of us each took a note from a basket Kathy had prepared for us and on the notes were chores that needed to be done at some point. Alyse drew “plant skunk cabbage”. I’d never heard of something called a skunk cabbage before today so that was fun. Katie drew “mowing” and I drew “clean the dome”. She and I switched because she seemed to want to work on the dome and  I mow a lot so that worked out well. The mowing was a bit more in-depth than I had done before because there were more plants to carefully mow around than what I had done before. I had to really learn to look out for more flowers and such than I usually do but it was good experience because the other people I mow for in my time also have plants that they wouldn’t want mowed over. Besides that, it helped me learn that I need to keep more attention at the task at hand and look out for either flowers or something else in whatever task I’m engaged in and therefore not do something I’m not supposed to do. We also did a few other things like Alyse made some orders that needed done, Katie and I both (but mainly Katie) worked a little with the vermicompost and I moved some dirt that is for an area that Kathy is working on. Also at some point in the day, Kathy went over a thing she has for task evaluation called S.M.A.R.T.. The S being Specific: “is the task a specific mission, over maybe more of a broader request?”. M is Measurable. I don’t exactly remember what this one is for but I think it was something like: “does the task have a measurable outcome, i.e., is it worth doing?”. A is Attainable: “is the given task an attainable one, can it be done?”. R is Relate-able or Relevant: “is the task relate-able to the worker? Can the worker relate to the task and therefore fully understand it?”. And lastly, T for Time Sensitive: “is this task time sensitive? Can it be done in a timely manner?”. I think that that is a good way to look at not just those sorts of task, but lots of other things as well. As a result, I am looking forward to the next time I can go back to Broadwell and do some stuff again.