At one time, the word “intern” had been synonymous with doing the grunt work and getting the coffee.
I mean, think about all the movies you’ve seen. Interns get the crappy jobs and duties.
Yes, interns still don’t get the glorified roles — which they shouldn’t. I believe you need to earn the right and responsibility to do the job. However, while I do think interns have crawled out from under their once limiting definition, they aren’t always given the chance to show they can excel.
Truth be told, I’ve seen the good and the bad in interns. Some go after it; others do the bare minimum and you’re glad to see them gone. Since I’ve started interning at my Box though, I’ve seen that we — the interns — can be of tremendous value to the business. But only if the owner gives the intern a chance, and the intern has the right mindset.
Here are a few things I’ve seen from my personal experience that an intern can offer at your Box, given the right tools and the right attitude:
I’ve been shadowing classes several times a week. On Thursday nights, the class I shadow has become pretty packed. The second time I was in the class, the Coach was giving direction to athletes across the room. Another member closer to me needed attention, so I helped her work through the bench press. As the class progressed, I found myself directing her in other movements as well. After, I was talking to my Coach to make sure I hadn’t overstepped any boundaries. He explained it was helpful to have another set of eyes on the floor, as he couldn’t get to everyone. I was thankful he had empowered me enough to allow me to guide athletes and that I could be of help.
Few people like to clean. But while your interns don’t necessarily have to run the floor scrubber, they can be taught to pick up around the gym. Whenever I’m at my Box, I find myself picking up trash or putting away mats. Personally, I also think it’s nice to help members pick up their weights. After our Friday Night Lights events, I see it as my job to stay and help clean up. No one has told me specifically to do these things, but I honestly want to because I love the space, and it looks nicer clean. Your interns should want to help, make a good impression and show they care about the Box. I don’t think it’s too much to require of them.
If your interns — or your Coaches for that matter — aren’t excited to be in the gym doing their thing, then why are they there? When I show up to shadow a class or help at an event, I’m pumped. I love the members and Coaches like they are my extended family. And that passion comes through in all I do. Your interns need to take the time to talk to members and show they care about athletes’ lives beyond fitness. I don’t think this passion is something that can be taught. Make sure your interns are as invested in your Box and community as you are. Otherwise, you probably don’t want them hanging around all that much, or even interning for that matter.