Note: This post is written by ASU Business Senior, Doreen Zhao. Doreen is one of five interns that elected to do their senior project with Gangplank. Check out her first post, ‘Business Ethics and Nonprofits‘.
One of the tasks we were assigned was to come up with and host a Gangplank Junior event. Dan and I thought it would be fun to do a story writing workshop, where we would challenge kids to be creative while working on organization and writing skills. But honestly, neither of us was quite sure what to do. On Saturday, we nervously waited for people to show up and sincerely hoped that we were cool enough to talk to ten-year-olds.
The fact that we organized the event ourselves made it even more important to us that it went well. It started off slowly; we had six kids participate, who stared at us expectantly and who were more interested in the box of cinnamon roll snacks than in writing. But with Katie’s encouragement, we managed to have fun with the kids and came up with some truly creative stories, which ranged from Candyland fairy tales to Grand Theft Auto science fiction.
Before the event, Katie assured us, “Don’t worry if it fails. It happens to me all the time and I don’t take it personally.” I thought this was an interesting perspective, and it assuaged my concerns somewhat. I had been thinking that the outcome of the workshop would reflect upon me personally. However, working in a nonprofit means you have to take risks and sometimes, not all of them pay off. In the business world, a failed deal might get you fired. At Gangplank, it seems that people treat failed events as learning opportunities. Even successful events are helpful; after this workshop, I now know that “boys vs. girls” tactics are incredibly effective and that having a good sense of humor is crucial to event planning.
Not everything will go according to plan, but sometimes the important thing is for everyone to have fun.