Kelci Zile – Party Camp Intern

1011528_10202870313144363_626965612_nI first heard about the idea of “Party Camp” through Pam Tufts, the previous director of the Foster Lavin Entrepreneurship Program. Party Camp was a fundraiser and festival attempting to break the record for the World’s Largest Water Balloon Fight and raise over $50,000 for Camp Korey, a camp that provides a medically sound and fun environment for children with serous or life-altering conditions and their families. Party Camp was the “brainchild” of Neil Bergquist, Director at SURF Incubator, a community-supported place for tech based entrepreneurs. He had recently thrown the World’s Largest Snow Ball Fight called “Snow Day,” which raised $50,000 for The Boys and Girls Club.

I was on the core team of three planning the festival: Neil, Ryan Bourke, a college mate of his, and I began planning operations for Party Camp in late June. My position managed social media and sponsorship coordination. My days would start at SURF Incubator and would end at King 5 News, Intellectual Ventures, or Camp Korey. Each day, I maintained all social media channels in order to gain a strong audience and find potential sponsors. In addition, I accompanied Neil on sponsorship proposals, news and radio interviews, and all festival planning meetings. The week before the event was spent perfecting the Worlds Fastest Water Balloon Filler created by Intellectual Ventures, organizing volunteers, monitoring ticket sales, holding news interviews, and spending a few hours actually filling our 300,000 water balloons.

On day of the fight, we had the music blaring, our vendors in place, and were ready for battle. When the countdown finally happened and 300,000 water balloons were sent into the air, all I could see were smiles. The view from the stage is something I will never forget. Six minutes of pure joy for thousands of people—I had never seen anything like it. At the end of the day, we were a few thousand people short of setting the world record, but we raised $55,000 for Camp Korey.

This internship opened doors for pre and post-graduation while dramatically diversifying my skill set. I learned to never expect anything, and that unfamiliar situations and testing yourself provides the most knowledge. To students looking for internships with start-ups, remember that the person hiring you is passionate about their product/service and you should not be afraid to show your enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always make sure you have full understanding of the topic at hand. Employers value this quality, it shows that you are constantly learning and are cut out for the start-up world.