Before I started working at The Post-Journal, I spent the summer of 2011 as the public relations intern at Chautauqua Institution.
In earlier years, I had only visited the Institution a handful of times. So, when I stepped foot on the Chautauqua grounds the day after graduating from college, I didn’t really know what the summer would hold.
For those who don’t know, Chautauqua offers a wide range of programming during its nine-week season, which gets underway this weekend.
In 2011, I spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with the weekly lecture themes and entertainment schedule so I at least had an idea of what was going on during the summer.
That way, when I worked with local and regional media outlets, I was able to help them with their coverage of Chautauqua.
Although learning about the performers and events was overwhelming at first, that turned out to be the easy part. I became quite comfortable sitting in my office, writing press releases, planning events and responding to emails. What I never really became comfortable with was showing the media around the Institution.
I don’t have the greatest sense of direction, and Chautauqua isn’t the easiest place to get around if you don’t know where you’re going.
Sure, I could get a TV crew to the Amphitheater, the Miller Bell Tower or the Hall of Philosophy without any trouble. But once they asked me to take them off course to this building or that, it was time for me to pull the golf cart over and pull my map of the grounds out of my pocket.
After studying the map and some head scratching, I could always get us to where we needed to go while only occasionally putting our lives in danger by taking a wrong turn.
I ended up enjoying my summer at Chautauqua, and I make occasional visits to the grounds now for work and for fun. It’s an enjoyable place to spend a day, especially on a nice summer afternoon.
If you’ve never been to the grounds, I recommend making a visit. But if you don’t know where you’re going, don’t be like me. Do yourself a favor and ask someone for directions.
For more on the Chautauqua Institution summer season, visit ciweb.org.