THE LOCAL: Reflections from Emily LeBlanc, Summer Intern, The Scout Guide New Orleans

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Hello all! I am Emily LeBlanc, a rising senior at Academy of the Sacred Heart, and for the past two weeks I have been interning with The Scout Guide New Orleans. My journey with TSG began three years ago when I heard Taylor give a commencement speech to the seniors at the time and the other grades in the High School. Listening to Taylor’s story and experience at Sacred Heart and her life after ASH intrigued me and later led me to apply for an internship with her. I had no idea what to expect going into the internship, but I knew that I would make the most out of it if I went in with an open mind, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn, which is exactly what I did. I have listed 10 things that I have taken away from the past two weeks to give some insight about myself and the impact that TSG has had on me. 

The amount of work that goes into having your own business. Growing up I have seen firsthand the hours put in everyday when owning your own business, but seeing Taylor’s dedication to her job and clients gave me a new appreciation for her business and for all business owners. 

The responsibility and pressure in owning your own business. Spending two weeks with TSG has opened my eyes to the stress and pressures of owning and running a business especially during these uncertain times. This realization has helped me better understand how all business owners are feeling and have been feeling during the past few months. While scouting with Taylor, I listened to her insightful conversation with the owner of Pied Nu. She was communicating to Taylor how hard it has been having a business and her anxieties and worries about the future. Observing this conversation and chiming in at times helped me see how the past few months have affected retail shops and their owners, which instantly made me feel for all business owners because I was able to better understand their emotions and experiences rights now. 

How to improve my patience. Throughout my life I have always recognized that I am not the most patient person. The past few years I have chosen to dedicate myself to working on my patience more by seeing each time my patience is tested as an opportunity to learn and grow. The past few weeks have been quite stressful at times for Taylor as herself and her business has been pulled in many different directions. Understanding this has helped me to be more patient each day when waiting for tasks or getting frustrated with slow computers and stuck on assignments. 

The importance of local businesses and shopping local. Economics and business related matters have always com naturally to me. While I find myself constantly sharing my knowledge on business in school and at home, I have never stopped to think about the importance of local businesses when it comes to our city’s economy. By reading testimonials from TSG members and hearing Taylor speak about local businesses, I have become more aware of the significance that shopping local has on all towns and cities. I’ve learned that deciding to support small businesses directly means making the decision to invest in our city, economy, and people. I have always been an avid supporter of sustainability, and I’ve learned that shopping locally is one of the best ways to help foster a sustainable environment, economy, and city. 

The necessity and meaning of having motivation. The past few years I have noticed my motivation regarding certain endeavors has varied greatly, which I always thought to be somewhat problematic. I have found myself struggling with motivation when it comes to school assignments, while at the same time dedicating all of my time and energy into my passions such as serving and helping the vulnerable in our community, the environment, raising awareness for equality, and loving and listening to all. Up until this week, I thought that I lacked a much needed motivation to get my work done, but I realized that it’s completely normal to find the most motivation to create change in things that I am very passionate about. Seeing Taylor’s motivation when it comes to TSG and being an advocate for local businesses has taught me to follow where my heart and passions are taking me by pursuing a career that makes me feel motivation, happiness, and fulfillment. 

The affect TSG has on our city. After learning about the importance of supporting local businesses, TSG’s significance in New Orleans and other cities became apparent to me. TSG advocates for and supports local businesses every single day online, in print, and in person, which has shown me the positive effect it has on its members and on every local business. 

A deeper understanding of myself. Working nine to five for the past two weeks has opened my eyes to the reality of working a regular job by making me work to manage my time and energy. At first it was extremely challenging to balance making time for my family, friends, and most importantly myself. I have always put others before myself, which made finding any time for myself in the past two weeks even harder for me to do than when I wasn’t working as often. Giving my all every day at my internship, at home, and with friends made me realize the importance and necessity of taking time for myself to reflect, be in silence, workout, and grow spiritually and mentally. I saw this as another opportunity to learn more about myself, my needs, and how to balance every aspect of my life. 

The value of connecting with others. My bubbly personality and desire to listen and learn from others has always led me to connecting with every person in my grade every day and on retreats at school. Scouting with Taylor and listening to the many phone calls she makes every day, has shown me the importance of connecting with others in our community. Hearing stories from business owners and their experiences from these past few months have shown me how valuable it is to ask people around me how they are doing. Being there for friends and family has always been very important to me, and these past few weeks have given me a new found desire to be there for more people in my community. 

Everything that goes into running TSG New Orleans. Over the past few years, my mom has always shown me each new volume of TSG New Orleans, and I would admire their beauty and simplicity. Seeing what goes on behind the scenes has allowed me to have a greater respect for and understanding of TSG. To many people, being the editor of TSG seems like a fun, simple job, when in reality the amount of work that goes into it every day is astonishing. I honestly do not know how Taylor does it and does it so well. 

The effect that I can have on others and my community. I have always believed that my actions and words can have a positive or negative effect on others, which has led me to constantly think about others and how I can have the best impact on them. My understanding of the impact that I can have on others has grown during my internship by seeing the impact that Taylor has on local businesses and our community. Being exposed to the respect that she has gained from so many people has encouraged me to put myself out there by having a positive impact on each person I connect with. The importance of having a network of people who you support and who support you in return has become evident to me along with knowing that there’s an even greater number of people who each of us are not aware that we have had an impact on. The most important part to having the best impact on others is dedicating yourself to constantly growing and learning, which I have made an effort to do for myself and for those around me. I have learned that we can have the greatest impact on others by leading through example by what we do, say, and think on an everyday basis. This internship has given me more motivation to go after what I want, to be confident, and to advocate for my community daily.

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