Tuba Pulat, a business management student from Turkey studying at Whatcom Community College, writes about doing her internship at the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce. She writes about helping to organize Ski-to-Sea, an annual multi-sport relay race from Mount Baker to Bellingham.
I am doing my internship at the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce. I feel honored to be part of the biggest annual health event here in Bellingham. It took a lot of effort and hard work to make the Ski to Sea event successful. Before the event started, the Chamber of Commerce had to make a lot of contact to get the event going. For example, parents can apply for their children to be part of the race and we also have to find sponsors, who play a crucial role in this annual event. Shirts, bags, medals, refreshments and certificates also had to be ordered for participants in the competition.
Ski to Sea also gave me a platform to meet and greet people and because of this event I made long life friendships with Americans who had a keen interest in learning about me and my country. This also took my confidence of engaging with other people to the next level. It was indeed a fun event. That day could not have been better because it was a nice and sunny day, and took place at Lake Padden Park. It was so amazing to see how many young people from universities and colleges showed up. It was a pleasant feeling seeing how young people in Bellingham get engaged their community through volunteering.
When it comes to competition, the people of Bellingham as well as the Chamber of Commerce played a fair game to everyone. Hence, participants got rewarded with medals, certificates, t-shirts, free food, and prizes as a token of appreciation. You could see how happy the elementary and middle school children were and how proud their parents were.
The second week of Ski to Sea activities took place at Cornwall and Alabama streets. The event was similar to the Ski to Sea race, but with a slight difference. It is an annual event that takes place in Bellingham and accommodates everyone who wants to participate. Basically, it is a parade where people from different places in Bellingham can join. The grand parade is very festive and diverse. People get creative and playful when celebrating this activity. They think out of the box and become inventive. For instance, they create moving floats, showcasing their cultures, and they had big puppets to entertain children. I am thrilled to have had such a great experience. However, for the event to be success we faced a lot of hard work. By the end of the day, I was so exhausted because of all the work that was assigned to me. From day one we had to organize and fold t-shirts. There was also a lot of heavy lifting to do. For instance, we carried big heavy boxes from the office to the truck. Lastly, we had to organize banners and do block off parking spaces.
To sum it up, the event over all was a huge success and we had a good turnout. It was nice seeing people from different backgrounds and cultures uniting in one place and celebrating something that they all found in common. My reflection about the Ski to Sea race and the grand parade was that it was an outstanding and unique experience, because this proved to me that the outcome of hard work is celebration, appreciation, and recognition.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.