My name is Jenny Lehner, and I started at VGI in January 2019 as a Community Programs Intern. The 11th Annual Victory Garden Initiative BLITZ was the focus of my internship, as it was the main focus of Montana, the Community Programs Manager and my supervisor. Working with Montana and Lexi, the other Community Programs Intern, throughout the winter to help plan this event was an amazing learning experience. Lexi and I worked closely with Montana to reach out to donors, help recruit volunteers, and create and distribute promotional material. I feel honored to have been a part of the VGI team, and getting to know the other staff and interns really made my experience as an intern more than just busy work. Even on days when it was below zero, we would still be in the office at the farm house working to plan this event in May.
For me, the most rewarding part of my internship was actually getting to work the BLITZ and see this event in action. Even in the days right before the BLITZ I honestly wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together. To make things even more hectic, the BLITZ fell right when Lexi and I were taking our finals and graduating from UW-Milwaukee. Still, the time that I was able to spend working the event was extremely rewarding, fun, and exhausting. By the end of the two weeks I felt even closer with Montana, Lexi, and other members of the VGI staff. I also got to work with and know volunteers who shared our passion for this event and had been working the event for years. Actually getting to get out in the city and installing the garden beds with these people made my sore muscles totally worth it.
Seeing the community come together like this really gave me a sense of being a part of something bigger than myself. I genuinely felt more connected to the Milwaukee community after those two weeks than I did during my three years of going to school there. The homeowners who received the garden beds were so grateful and excited. Being a part of this year’s event from start to finish not only taught me a great deal and looks great on my resume, but it also was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.