Intern Summery — Emma Conway’s experience

Emma Conway summarizes her 12-week internship at Good Shepherd, reflects upon what this summer has meant to her and shares what her fall plans are.

While I walked towards Good Shepherd’s Madison entrance on Monday, May 17, nothing could calm my excitement. It was my first day interning at Good Shepherd, and I was ready to see the church, meet the staff, sign the paperwork. But nobody could have prepared me for how this congregation would make me feel.

From the moment I stepped foot in Good Shepherd, I felt like I belonged. There were little ways the staff made me feel at home on May 17. They gave me a tour, made me a name plate. They even let me snap photos of the new beehive being set up in Verona’s Food Pantry Garden. Throughout my 12-week internship, that sense of excitement never went away, all thanks to this community.

Little gestures from the staff only continued. Early-morning games of catch from Judy Hoard, batches of candy from Donna Maysack, hot cups of coffee from Jessica McCarty, gourmet cookies from Sarah Iverson and college stories from Jared Stellmacher helped me see that these people were not just my coworkers, not just my friends — these people became my family. And I am not just talking about the staff.

As I navigated my first apartment and internship away from home, the entire Good Shepherd community welcomed me in unimaginable ways. Members greeted me with a smile during Home Communion, surprised me with a Vera Bradely bag during Campfire Worship and challenged me with a hula hoop competition during Music Monday. In this inclusive and supportive environment, I have been able to grow.

Going into this summer, I thought I was only capable of covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things in a written format — patient teachers like Eric Holmer showed me otherwise. He sparked creative ideas and pushed my comfort zones. I never would have pictured myself as the person behind the camera, snapping photos and capturing videos, yet here I am. Every smile, every story brought me closer to God.

Beyond specific communication skills, I have learned so much more this summer about love, life and faith. I realized small acts of kindness really are not so little. The cards, the hugs, the meals, they matter. People go out of their way to welcome here. Those little actions make this community special, and make members feel not only invited, but valued. After my experience here, I believe anyone who steps foot in Good Shepherd can feel like they belong.

I truly have been blessed to be a part of this community this summer. And I am excited to share that I am not saying goodbye to Good Shepherd just yet. For the rest of August, I will be traveling and spending time with my family in Minnesota. On September 7, I will rejoin Good Shepherd’s Communications Team for the school year.

I am excited to jump in this fall, just like when I started on May 17. While I study journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, parts of my position here will change, but most of the work I do will stay the same. I still will be snapping photos at events, posting on social media and sending out e-news emails. Most importantly, I still will be learning from every one of our members.

God is working at Good Shepherd, and I am lucky to be a part of it.