Courtney Johnston: Internship

Courtney Johnston
Internship: The Ripken Experience



What is your major?

Communication

Where was your internship placement? 

My internship was with The Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

What is the purpose of the organization?

The Ripken Experience gives players, coaches and families a unique opportunity to enjoy tournament baseball while visiting a top vacation destination. Week long youth baseball tournaments with up to 75 teams weekly are held at the beautiful 9 field complex. The organization strives to give players the feeling of a true major league experience. Players get to hear their name announced along with walk up music over the loud speaker, they have the opportunity to play on fields modeled and named after historical major league fields, and they participate in skills competitions during opening ceremonies. Along with that, players and coaches get their photos taken with and listen to the weekly ambassadors tell their story about how they made it big time. Some of the ambassadors for the summer of 2016 included Cal Ripken Jr., Phil Niekro, Bobby Valentine, Dale Murphy, Fergie Jenkins, and the well-known Team USA softball star Jennie Finch. The facility also hosts college and high school spring training, as well as a summer collegiate league.  

What did your general duties involve?

I was a Tournament Operations Intern along with 26 others. Some of the duties I performed this summer included announcing baseball games, playing walk up music, keeping score, managing social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, organizing the opening ceremonies, running and announcing skills competitions including Turn 2, Relay, and Home Run Derby, checking in teams, making sure teams got all their bags, hats, and tee shirts they ordered, creating brackets for upcoming tournaments, updating and posting scores, assisting the weekly ambassadors, grounds crew, presenting awards, and various opening ceremony duties including handing out promotions, setting up games, working the retail shop, assisting with parking, and helping with the coaches meetings.

What was your most memorable experience?

While working with and living in the same condos as 26 other college interns for the entire summer it is easy to say that I had many memorable experiences and there was never a dull moment. My most memorable experience besides going to the beach everyday, parasailing, and the Myrtle Beach nightlife would have to be when the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers won the College World Series, and the entire town went crazy! That night there was a huge welcome home celebration for them at Broadway at the Beach, and all the interns went to it.  My most memorable work related experience was when a cute elderly couple thought I was Jennie Finch and asked for my autograph.

Has your internship influenced your career path?

Working at The Ripken Experience last summer helped me determine that I want to work within sports someday. I realized that this was something I was truly passionate about and felt like if I go into a sports related position I will never have to actually “work” a day of my life. Moving from a small town in Minnesota to an unfamiliar area across the country where I knew absolutely no one also influenced my career path. I fell in love with Myrtle Beach, and because of this in my future search for a career I will be a lot more open to relocating which will provide me with many more options for a position. The connections I made last summer have also influenced my career path, and have already helped me land job and internship offers from professional teams. Having Cal Ripken Jr.’s name on my resume has really helped grab the attention of employers at job fairs that I have attended.