WAPracticum Journal - CAMP My practicum experience in the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) had abumping start to it. I found that my practicum supervisor really underestimated myabilities to organize and plan and was interested in micro managing everything I did.Moreover, we had different ideas of how to approach the planning and organization ofthe orientation. I was the “big picture first” type of organizer (what is our goal, what isour purpose, what do we want to achieve, what type of growth and development do wewant to encourage in our students?). After we had an opportunity to understand eachothers work styles and work schedules, things improved a little. I also made sure that mypracticum supervisor had my resume. I often felt in the first weeks of the practicum thathe was operating under the assumption that I had ZERO work experience. So, in thosefirst few weeks, I often felt frustrated more than anything else. I took the approach that Ineeded to prove something to my supervisor, number one that his assumptions werewrong. After several bumps in the road, my practicum experience improved. And thoughmy experience started on a rocky road, my supervisor and I really became greatcolleagues. In the end, I achieved what I set out to do and more. Through this practicum I intended to meet the following competencies: • #4 Assessment and evaluation (evaluation of summer orientation) • #5 Program Planning (organizing orientation, developing mentoring program) • #6 Teaching, presentation, and publication (creation of materials, handbooks, presenting/teaching during the orientation).In the end, because we were still planning details for the orientation up to the very lastminute, another CSSA student took on the duties of creating an assessment for the
orientation. I did, however, conduct a short meeting with the staff to debrief and assesstheir experience during the orientation (How was their experience, what things would thechange or improve? What things should stay the same?). In terms of program planning,I exceeded my expectations in planning an event. Since this was not just a single event,but multiple events over the course of a week, I felt at times overwhelmed; however,when the orientation finally took place two weeks before school, it turned out to be asuccess. In terms of teaching, presenting and publication, I found that putting together ahandbook for the orientation was the least of my priorities (making sure rooms wereconfirmed and speakers confirmed were higher on my priority list), however, the endproduct of lots of letters, creating schedules, etc. was a nice handbook for the incomingstudents and an extended version for the CAMP staff. In terms of presentation, Iintroduced many of the speakers and guided many of the sessions during the week. It feltgreat working with the students and guiding them through a process of growth and fun!Moreover, I was also in charge of the staff training prior to the orientation. During thetraining I facilitated discussions, including a formal presentation about Latino identitydevelopment, and guided the day’s events. What I did not expect from my practicum experience were several things. First, Idid not expect to love working with the CAMP students as much as I did. I felt energizedby the students and just excited to have the honor to work with them for the week.Second, and most important to the practicum requirements, I did not expect to address thefollowing competencies: #2 Student Development in Higher Education Graduates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of student populations and sub-cultures within varied higher education settings. In
meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their knowledge of. .. a. Transitional issues faced by students before and after their tenure in higher education settings; b. The various and changing needs, goals, affinities of students within varied higher education settings (i.e. community college, private, public, etc); c. The diversity of student populations including, but not limited to, age, socioeconomic status, gender, race and ethnicity, language, nationality, religion or spirituality, sexual orientation, ability, and preparedness; and d. Theories related to student development and potential practical applications. #3 Organization, Leadership, and Administration of Student Affairs Graduates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of higher education/ student affairs administration and those aspects related to the design, delivery, and organization of student affairs in college and university settings. In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their experience with/knowledge of. . . e. Fiscal resources, budget development and management in supporting student affairs programs or services; f. Human resource/personnel management, including hiring, supervising, and evaluating employee performance; g. Organizational structure, dynamics, and leadership; and h. Legal issues critical in guiding and influencing practice.When planning for the orientation for incoming first-year students from migrant farmworker backgrounds, I thought a lot about student development. I kept thinking about thefact that the students coming into the program had little support from their families, notbecause their families didn’t want to give it, but rather because of their lack of experienceor knowledge about college (many students in the program come from Latinobackgrounds and are the first in their families to attend college). I kept thinking abouttheir transition from high school to college and their various needs and challenges. Ikept thinking about their preparedness for an environment unknown to them or theirfamilies. When planning the orientation, I kept these things in mind and thought aboutways to help them feel welcomed at OSU and how to minimize the feeling ofmarginalization felt by many students of color (especially incoming students who lack a
network of support from students and faculty). In addition to thinking about studentdevelopment throughout my entire practicum, I even used student development theory tojustify programming. When I suggested certain events for the orientation, I wasquestioned about their importance to the students and the orientation. Much to my ownsurprise, I found myself pulling out “mattering and marginality” as a reason to support anevent or two for the orientation. I also used pieces of other the theories to justify theprogramming. I found myself referring to theories in support of programming; somethingI didn’t think I would have to do. In the end, the events in question were a great successwith the OSU community and the CAMP students. In terms of administration, I did not expect to be hiring students for the summerorientation staff. I was in charge of creating the application, sending it out, organizingthe interviews, and conducting the interviews. In addition to hiring staff for the summerorientation, I was also involved in hiring incoming CAMP students for the MulticulturalCommunity Internships (MCI) in the residence halls. This required sending letters tostudents explaining the MCI opportunity and follow-up phone calls to make sure theyunderstood the process and to encourage them to apply. I was also involved inscheduling the MCI interviews and participated in the selection of the final candidates. In addition to working on hiring students, I created the budget for the summerorientation and presenting it to the new CAMP director. Besides managing the summerorientation budget, I also created and proposed a budget for the new peer mentorprogram. On the whole, I never expected to be creating and/or managing budgets duringmy practicum, however, it was a good experience in trying to work with an ideal and berealistic about our programming and financial limits.
Overall, I had a great experience working the College Assistance Migrant Program.The best part of my experience was not the planning, not creating the handbook and allthe forms and schedules associated with the orientation, not the budget management, butrather the reward of working with the students. I had no idea that I would love the directwork with the students as much as I did. Working directly with the CAMP students inthe program during the orientation week was the most rewarding experience I have hadthus far as a CSSA student. I hope that I can find future work in student affairs similar tomy CAMP experience.