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5 in 5! with Double H Ranch

December 9, 2010

5 Questions. 5 Minutes. 1 Employer.  This week, we have John from Double H Ranch.

The Double H Ranch is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round programming (residential summer camp, weekend support programs and adaptive winter sports) to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.  Founded by Paul Newman and Charles R. Wood in 1993, the Double H Ranch serves over 1,000 people annually and is 100% free of charge.

1. What do you look for when you hire an intern?

We have been really fortunate as an organization to attract hundreds of qualified, desirable candidates each year.  The qualities that stand out and help pull that application to the top of the pile are passion for service and a willingness to learn.  If you are passionate about our mission to serve kids and families and you are ready to grow personally and professionally, you are an excellent candidate.

2. How did you get started in the industry? How can I get started?

I got started like so many in our organization, as a counselor in the summer program and I continued to improve myself, taking jobs that would  help me to grow into a successful leader.  Like many of my colleagues at Double H, I fell in love with this place and the people we serve during my summers in college.  I was a Criminal Justice major in college, thinking about law school and I needed a summer job.  I applied at Double H and it changed me.  Two weeks after I started, I switched my major to Elementary Education so that I could work with kids forever.  I have never taught a day in my life.  Camp just got in my blood and I was hooked.

I recommend to anyone who is interested in not-for-profit administration to try many different avenues.  It was important for me to work for Double H,but also to work for YMCA branches and camps in Florida and Rhode Island as well as a few for-profit companies to gain a better understanding of what goes into being a professional.  Volunteerism opens up a  lot of opportunities for growth as well,so get out there and volunteer!

3. What is the future of your industry?

This industry is much more exciting than it is given credit for.  People see not-for-profits as a struggle, but that challenge fuels what we do.  At Double H, we get to see how our efforts as a team impact a child and their family in a positive way.

4. What is one main thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression? To make a negative impression?

We offer an atmosphere for interns to create change and be a part of the team.  In order to be effective as an intern here, you have to be a team player.  We all  rely on each other to make “the magic' happen at Double H.  Communication is key!  The most successful interns have been those individuals who excel at communicating their ideas and needs with their teammates.  When communication breaks down, it can have a negative impact on the great people that we serve, and we work hard to avoid that.

5. Give us a positive intern story? An intern horror story?

This past summer we had a staff member (all of our interns are treated and compensated as staff) who captured what we all strive for.  She was able to come into her first summer on staff with an open mind, and an eagerness to motivate herself to try things out of her comfort zone.  She had volunteered with us in 2009, so she had some expectations about what it might be like.  She exceeded all of our expectations!  She made a dedicated investment in each camper she served and displayed an immense amount of enthusiasm.

Generally, our interns have brought about positive change to Double H.  The interns who have not been as successful are those who lose their focus.  It is important to always keep the goal of improving the lives of children and families at the forefront of our work.

Thanks John! Feel free to email John at if you’re interested in working with Double H Ranch.

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