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The Intern

RV junior Ben Kusnetzky is excelling and enjoying his role as an intern and mentor at Outdoor Lab

Ralston+Valley+junior+Benjamin+Kusnetzky+is+an+intern+this+semester+at+Jefferson+County+Outdoor+Lab.+While+focusing+on+his+interest+in+outdoor+education%2C+Kusnetzky+is+taking+the+rest+of+his+classes+online.
Ralston Valley junior Benjamin Kusnetzky is an intern this semester at Jefferson County Outdoor Lab. While focusing on his interest in outdoor education, Kusnetzky is taking the rest of his classes online.

Ralston Valley junior Benjamin Kusnetzky is an intern this semester at Jefferson County Outdoor Lab. While focusing on his interest in outdoor education, Kusnetzky is taking the rest of his classes online.

photo courtesy of Benjamin Kusnetzky

photo courtesy of Benjamin Kusnetzky

Ralston Valley junior Benjamin Kusnetzky is an intern this semester at Jefferson County Outdoor Lab. While focusing on his interest in outdoor education, Kusnetzky is taking the rest of his classes online.

Allison Burback, Staff Writer

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The typical school day is actually pretty boring; students must be present class after class, usually just doing repetitious worksheets or having to sit in the same spot to listen to a 90-minute lecture.

However, one Ralston Valley junior, Ben Kusnetzky, has decided to break out of this mold. Kusnetzky is part of the Outdoor Lab Internship Program. This organization allows for high school juniors and seniors to spend one semester at an Outdoor Lab site.

Outdoor Lab is a program offered to sixth grade students where participants travel up to either Mount Evans or Windy Peak and are given lessons in wildlife biology, astronomy, teambuilding, leadership, and a variety of other subjects throughout the course of one week.

The interns are responsible for making sure the week runs smoothly and are in charge of teaching many of these courses.

“I will live here for one semester,” said Kusnetzky, who is stationed at Mount Evans. “However, my plan is to return and do a second semester during my senior year.”

Instead of being bogged down with math, reading, and writing, the junior gets to be outside, interact with the Outdoor Lab students, and ultimately do what he is passionate about.

“I chose to be an intern at Outdoor Lab,” Kusnetzky explained, “because not only do I love the mountains and teaching but also because I am able to provide 1,600 kids each semester with an experience they will never forget.”

The junior absolutely loves the program so far.

“I think the thing I like the most at Outdoor Lab is the family environment amongst all the staff,” he said. “I never truly understood the saying ‘home is where the heart is’ until I started this internship. All ten interns, the three upper staff teachers, all the office and kitchen staff, and our site management team are like family to me. Everyone is so close and we all have each other’s backs.”

Although Kusnetzky has had an overall positive time so far in this internship, his days are extremely busy keeping up with his duties as an intern.

“I don’t have a typical day,” Kusnetzky said. “Every day is wildly different. I’ll talk about a typical Tuesday. Every Tuesday begins with a flag ceremony and breakfast and then moves into IC time. IC time is Intern Connection time and it gives us interns a chance to connect with our core group of sixth grade students and explain how our group is a family.

“Then we have two core classes. Core one is an ‘I-teach’, meaning that just the interns teach and the high school leaders watch and learn tips on teaching the class,” Kusnetzky explained. “Then, core two is a ‘We-teach’. This means that the high school leaders teach and we supervise to make sure they understand it. Then we have dinner, evening programs and then lights out. This all seems like a short easy day but Tuesdays are for sure the hardest day.”

Not only is Kusnetzky in charge of managing his responsibilities at Outdoor Lab, he must also keep up with a vigorous class load. Usually, the junior is not able to start his schoolwork until late at night, around nine or ten o’clock after an already exhausting day.

“The hardest part of this program is school work,” Kusnetzky said. “Keeping up on work and grades is so hard.”

Even with the massive amounts of homework and tiring daily activities, Kusnetzky wouldn’t give up his internship at Outdoor Lab for anything in the world.

“I’m a part of the Mount Evans family now,” Kusnetzky admitted. “Giving these kids the experience they get from Outdoor Lab humbles you in a way nothing else can.”

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