Notes from an Internship: Part VI

At one point in life, I could speak proficient German. Since college, unfortunately, that skill has diminished significantly, but one word still sticks in my memory: fingerspitzengefühl. The Germans use it to describe that feeling you get at the tips of your fingers when you anticipate that something major is about to happen. Well, the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Conference is a week away, and my fingerspitzen are gefühling.

Every year, the Town’s management intern (that’s me!) is given the honor of designing the Town’s booth for the showcase of cities and towns. This is what makes or breaks careers. OK, that might be hyperbolic, but you get the picture. The goal is to create an entertaining and memorable experience for conference attendees, who, by the way, are elected officials from across the state, including mayors, state legislators and the governor. No pressure!

After weeks of planning, dozens of phone calls, and hours of pouring pasta into cellophane (long story), I think we’re ready to go. Our theme this year is “Growing Marana,” and we’ll be highlighting many of the successful agricultural and industrial enterprises in our community. We have White Sonoran Wheat from BKW Farms, cans of Coke with “Marana” on the side, and even beer made from wheat grown in Marana.

But with such great prizes, won’t everyone realize that our swag is the highlight of the event and rush to scoop it all up? Good question. Did I mention that I used to be a teacher? I’m a pro at writing multiple-choice tests, so I thought it would be fun to create a quiz of Marana history, culture, and current events. And thus was born The Marana Trivia Challenge.

The task of creating this booth has fallen on my shoulders, but when I look back on this experience after it’s over, my first thought won’t be of a fun iPad app or a bag of pasta. Rather, what will stick with me is the tremendous support I’ve received from across our organization. When I broached the idea of making an iPad-based quiz game with tech services, they were happy to help. When I needed to make 200 bags out of cellophane and ribbon and fill them with pasta, my coworkers in the manager’s office were happy to fill in the assembly line. And when I cold-called BKW Farms and asked for 1,000 bags of White Sonoran Wheat, they didn’t hesitate to make that donation.

Teamwork is one of our core values, and with this project, every giveaway we’ll have at the booth represents that principle. I’m deeply grateful for the support I’ve received from across our community. I’ve still got that fingerspitzengefühl for next week, but it’s nice to know that I’m not in it alone.

Chris Saunders is a Marvin Andrews Scholar who is interning with the Town this summer. He is writing weekly entries for Marana 365 through the end of August.