Harvesting Ceremony: Why It Matters
June 29, 2015

By Darryl Birkenfeld

Cristina Vargas (right) with her supervisor: Gay Chalfant
Cristina Vargas (right) with her supervisor: Gay Chalfant

OC Community Internships are occurring throughout the calendar year, not just in the summer months.  So last week, I had a chance to go to a Harvesting Ceremony conducted by Cristina Vargas, as she was wrapping up her internship in speech language therapy at the Turn Center in Amarillo, Texas (http://turncenter.net/).

I was in the middle of a hectic week, and it took some effort for me to drive up to Amarillo from my office in Nazareth, TX, and to make it on time for Cristina’s Ceremony.  But as I settled into the Board Room at the Turn Center, I witnessed again why the Harvesting Ceremony is so important.  Cristina gave an impressive 15-minute presentation to her therapist peers and supervisor—her Power Point slides were eye-catching and illustrative of her internship work. More to the point, Cristina told a unique story that only interns can tell: about her family background, about how she settled on speech pathology as a career path, and about her obstacles and challenges in her educational journey.  Every person in the room resonated with her story, and felt inspired and energized.

Cristina punctuated her Harvesting Ceremony with great energy and expression.
Cristina punctuated her Harvesting Ceremony with great energy and expression.

I am relating my experience and sharing these photos from her presentation to remind OC Community Interns that you have a great opportunity coming up with your Harvesting Ceremony.  You may not particularly like public speaking, but you have a unique story to tell, and your community partners are eager to hear it. Please take time to select photos and design presentations that illustrate the projects and activities that you worked on during your internship.  But most of all, plan a presentation that tells your audience something about who you are, where you came from, and where you are going.  These elements are what will connect you to your audience, and allow them to see some of the hidden value of your internship.  You never fully realize what you have been given and what you are doing in your internship, until you take time “to harvest.”