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Nex-Generation Interns Complete Summer Program
Six high school and college students have completed a nine-week summer internship program through Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., a 501(c)(3) located in Lenora. Each student was hired by a local employer and Nex-Generation supplied curriculum and guidance throughout the program. Costs of providing the internship were offset by a grant through the non-profit organization.
 
One of Nex-Generation’s primary goals is youth retention. “By providing high school and college students in northwest and north central Kansas with local employment opportunities, we believe we are giving them hands-on experiences that will shape their career goals,” stated Jacque Beckman, Executive Director. “We are also helping them to recognize the variety of businesses that are available in their own and surrounding communities, so that they may build relationships with local professionals. In doing so, we hope to encourage each student to remain in or return to their local communities in the future.”
 
The internships, which began on June 1, culminated on July 31 with a focus group and intern graduation day. Each intern and representatives from their respective employer came together in Lenora to share their experiences. Click below to read what the students had to say:
Proudly displaying their Nex-Generation shirts, the 2015 student interns shared a day together in Lenora at the end of their summer experience. Pictured in the back, from L to R, are Jacque Beckman, Executive Director; Brianna Karnopp; Taylor Haven; and Jaden Hopkins. (Front L to R): Harrison Woodyard; Erik Nelson; and Lucas Goddard.
“My internship was awesome. I worked at lots of different departments within the City, but the police department was my favorite. I learned more than just office etiquette; I learned how to handle customers better, how to talk to them, and how to handle money and write receipts. One of my experiences included calling insurance companies to get items that we needed to have on file. The result: I received about 50 faxes in one day! Overall, I received some great mentoring, including assistance with my résumé, and a terrific letter of recommendation for future jobs.”
“At CCDC we are responsible for tourism and promoting businesses. Over the summer, I helped with brochures to help promote local events and updated a registry of about 300 local businesses—some of which I didn’t know were here. As I talked to the businesses, it helped me to inform people about CCDC and about Nex-Generation. I also participated in local and regional meetings, which allowed me to make valuable connections and meet a lot of really neat people from all over the state who are really passionate about their communities. Before this internship, I had just graduated from high school and I was like, ‘I don’t want to come back—it’s a nice town, but I don’t want to come back.’ A number of things this summer—including this internship—have convinced me that these little towns are important and we should fight to come back. So, I’d like to come back and raise my kids here.”
“It’s been one of the best summers of my life. When I heard about this internship, I thought maybe this would be a chance to save up some money to buy a new computer. What I gained was a lot more. I expected to spend most of my time in Norton and didn’t expect we would be doing so much with neighboring cities, like helping unpack books for Goodland schools and visiting other libraries in the counties we serve. I helped install and uninstall updates and software for patron computers. I also built a computer out of spare parts that were going to be thrown away. I also had an opportunity to demonstrate a 3-D printer to librarians during a ‘Tech Day’ we hosted.”
George Seamon, Director, NWKLS: “This internship program allowed us to reflect on what we do, and we realized we do a lot of work and that we had a lot to offer Harrison. Likewise, Harrison had a lot to offer us—he brought that energy. We could teach him, and he would learn and then apply what he learned. We think we made an impact on him and he definitely made an impact on us. We’re thankful to Nex-Generation for this opportunity and hope we get a chance to do it again.”
“I want to thank Nex-Generation for this experience. I spent most of my time in Physical Therapy, but I also learned about many other areas of the hospital. I learned a lot about anatomy and how the body works together and the different modalities physical therapists use, such as traction, e-stem, and ultrasound. During the summer, I had an opportunity to give a presentation on muscular-skeletal ultrasound, which was awesome, and observed wound care—which turned out to be one of my favorites. Overall, this experience has been great because generally you don’t get to see everything in a hospital. You hear about the jobs, but you don’t get to see everything they are doing, so being part of that environment has been really beneficial, and I hope this internship is carried on into the future for people who want to do that. I’m actually going to continue to work at the hospital as a nurse aid, so that’s one of the ways this internship has helped me already.”
Denise Ring, Graham County Hospital’s Physical Therapist: “Jaden has been amazing. Being 16, she showed an amazing amount of maturity, was able to easily transition into different parts of the hospital, and showed great initiative and learning. Hopefully we’ve stimulated her desire for the physical therapy program and have encouraged her for the future.”
“I interned with Nex-Tech’s management and had the opportunity to work with a lot of different departments. I got to help with a Backpacks for Kids campaign; design a flyer for the Norton Classic Car show; assist with a customer appreciation picnic; and help organize a Big Brothers Big Sisters golf tournament and an employee fun run and volleyball tournament. I participated in a variety of different meetings, including a Board Strategic Planning meeting. We discussed future business plans; reviewed reports; and shared ideas, including youth retention strategies. Working directly with CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd provided an opportunity for excellent discussions, especially the importance of communication throughout a company to ensure efficiency, as well as the happiness of its employees and customers. This experience was a huge takeaway for me, as well as personally being able to offer various suggestions to the executive management team that could be implemented in the future. I want to thank Nex-Tech and Nex-Generation for this opportunity; it was rewarding and just a lot of fun.”
“I came on at a really good time, as the hospital is going through a capital campaign. I helped with tours of the hospital; started an ‘Above and Beyond’ employee morale program; and helped develop a social media presence on Instagram for the hospital. I was able to shadow radiology—the program I am going into—and all I would have to say is, ‘I’m going to watch a CT scan’ and that’s what I got to do. Interning allowed me to learn about how a hospital works and the importance of communication and protocol, like not sharing everything I see. I experienced what goes on behind the scenes and helped develop many skills that will help me in the future. I plan to apply to the radiology program at Hays next January, so being part of this program, having worked in a hospital, and getting to see radiology has put me a step above others who will be applying to the program. I made some great connections, too. This has been a great experience, and I have had a ton of people ask me about the internship program for next year. I want to thank Nex-Generation for this opportunity.”
Ari Hunniford, Development Director, Smith County Memorial Hospital: “We are so grateful for this opportunity. What a great situation to have someone as young and talented as Taylor come into your facility and be able to help her grow, and move forward, and see the possibilities, and see some of her dreams come true. The whole experience has been amazing.”
Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc. focuses on four key areas of youth engagement: career development, entrepreneurship, internship, and scholarship. For more information about the organization and its programs e-mail nex-generation@nex-tech.com or call 877-567-7872.