By Cameryn Smith

When I started this program as a Junior Assistant I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’m an artist down to my core and I was lowkey nervous. When that first day came, my nervous energy quickly turned into excitement and I was looking forward to what the summer would bring. Last year I was a Teen Leader myself and moving up to a Junior Assistant was definitely an adjustment. Being there to guide teen leaders and not have an active role in the creative process was a challenge but I was ready to face it head on. As time went on I realized that guiding youth to their potential and being a helping hand to finding the answers was one of the best things I could ever witness.

Next was the State House. Being back at the State House brought back some nostalgia as it felt like just yesterday I was right where this year’s teen leaders are today. However, having a different position meant having a different perspective. Being in a position of guidance, I had knowledge and experience to share with the teens and it truly gave me a sense of gratitude for my experience and the ability to share what I know.

Then it was workshop tour and I had been looking forward to this for a long time. I absolutely loved watching the teens teach young kids in our community about social justice. Like any big group project, during the workshop tour there were moments when teen leaders would have certain disagreements or frustrations and helping them come to a conclusion was honestly one of the best things to be a part of. One clever piece of the performance that was added during tour was when there were technical difficulties, one of our teen leaders would ask the kids if they had a joke of their own. Even though it was a way to fill time it quickly became a part of the performance and showed how you can make anything work as long as you say “yes!” During my time here I have been seen as a part of staff, a friend and hopefully a big brother.