Hi, it’s Madison again!  I can’t believe my summer internship with Tri 4 Schools is coming to a close.

It went by so fast and I feel as though I learned many new things in my two months.  Coming into this internship I wasn’t entirely sure of all I’d have the opportunity to work on or be a part of, but Katie ensured I got a taste of just about every aspect of the nonprofit world.  It was really cool having the chance to read through grants, work with kids in the Exercise to Achievement program, attend meetings with board members, and be a part of preparing for the first Sun Prairie Triathlon.  I really got a taste of all the different components that go into maintaining a nonprofit, which was an enlightening and exciting experience.

I first heard about Tri 4 Schools through one of my academic athletic advisors as UW-Madison.  After my advisor explained the goals and focus of Tri 4 Schools in getting children active and teaching them how to lead healthy lifestyles, I was very excited to find a way to be involved.  As a student-athlete, specifically a swimmer, I’ve always valued a fit and healthy lifestyle, and believe getting kids involved and excited about athletics at a young age is very positive for their character and well being.  It was a blast working with kids in the Exercise to Achievement Program as I got to watch them improve and enjoy the triathlon training with friends.  I’m also interested in the mental component of sports and active living as a Psychology major, and I had the opportunity to help further improve and develop the mindfulness component of the Exercise to Achievement Program.  There was a lot of overlap between the work I did as an intern and my interests, which was wonderful!

Even though I was involved in a lot of behind the scenes work as well as the Exercise to Achievement Program, I think my favorite memory from this internship comes from race day at the Sun Prairie Triathlon.  I’d seen the kids train and had been involved in the set up, but actually watching all the kids come out and have an awesome time racing was so fun!  My parents were able to attend the event as well, and it was fantastic watching my dad look so happy as he handed out medals to the kids as they crossed the finish line.  Many kids were nervous to race, but when they crossed that finish line so many had big smiles on their faces and looked so proud of themselves (my mom got many sweet pictures of that as a photographer for the event).  A lot of the kids nearing the finish line would speed up when they heard us all cheering at the finish line, which was great.  It was such an uplifting and rewarding experience to be a part of the success of that triathlon, especially since it was its first year.

t4s sun prairie kids tri

Papa Blaydes got to hand out medals to finishers, and he had a blast!

sun prairie kids tri

One of hundreds of happy finish line reunions!

It was awesome getting to work with Katie for this internship.  I haven’t had experience as a intern before, but Katie made sure I always had the opportunity to be a part of any event or job I had an interest in, was flexible with my swim practice schedule, explained every direction thoroughly, had loads of enthusiasm, and overall made any task at hand fresh and enjoyable.  My time with Tri 4 Schools this summer went by too fast, but I loved it all!  I’m already looking forward to volunteering at the Haunted Hustle in October so I can watch more kids have a fun time racing.  I feel like I learned more than I could’ve ever anticipated and took away more skills than expected.

Editor’s note: As Executive Director, I was SO impressed with Madison’s enthusiasm, initiative, thoughtfulness, and dedication.  She multi-tasked like a seasoned pro, and was always a bright burst of inspiration every time we met.  We’ll miss her, and hope she will keep in touch!  Thank you, Madison!