Six local high school students worked for the Charlotte Bobcats this summer, and the paid internships were an inaugural program Michael Jordan created for the YMCA’s Y Achievers participants.
Y Achievers is a college and career readiness program that has received a lot of attention from Jordan. The Charlotte Bobcats owner and FOX Sports Carolinas/Sports South gave the program $200,000 earlier this year, as well as some $5,000 scholarships to graduating seniors in Y Achievers. Program leaders said they’re currently looking for more adult volunteers to be mentors for kids.
Y Achievers officials chose two interns from each school that is involved in Y Achievers, said Michelle Guinyard, YMCA of Greater Charlotte spokeswoman. School accomplishments, GPAs and Y Achievers engagement were important factors in the selection process, she said.
This summer, the interns enjoyed working in their own offices and using their own official email addresses for correspondence. They learned about day-to-day operations for the Bobcats, from marketing and public relations to guest services and retail.
Judging by the reviews of the six participating teens, the internship was a success. Read on to hear what they learned and how to maximize an internship experience.
• Practice public speaking and don’t doubt yourself.
Michelle Patton, West Charlotte High senior
“The most challenging part of my internship was coming outside of my comfort zone and having confidence in front of very professional people. ... The biggest thing that I took away was (you) always have to believe in yourself, and work hard because no one can get you to where you want to be but you.”
• There’s a lot more to a professional basketball team than just the players.
Anjelica Pendergrass, West Charlotte High senior
“The best part of the internship would have to be learning the ins and outs of what it takes to run the Charlotte Bobcats, whether it be summer leagues, concerts, running the team store and/or charity.”
• There are lots of opportunities at companies like the Bobcats that don’t require athletics or what the brand actually produces.
Tomera Robinson, Vance High senior
“This internship has changed my perspective completely! Prior to this internship, I never thought about how much work went into the Bobcats behind the scenes. ... I am now interested in sports marketing and broadcasting. These two fields never interested me until I was given this golden opportunity!”
• Internships can be fun, but work won’t always be sunshine and daisies.
Deonte Howard, West Mecklenburg junior
The hardest part was “working in guest services, because you had to learn how to keep customers happy. You have to stay focused and keep striving for your goals, and don’t let anyone or anything discourage you.”
• Organization is a key to success.
Jalil Pack, West Mecklenburg junior
“One thing that I really learned was to have better time management and organization so that I am prepared for what comes my way in school and work.”
• Even if you’re young, remember that you have value.
Amanda Hall, Vance High senior
“The most challenging part was opening up and not being hesitant to ask questions. The only way to make an impression is to let your voice be heard.”
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