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Riverbend Receives Intern Funding

Friends of Riverbend Park, Celebrate Great Falls support summer interns.

Members of the Riverbend Park Staff and the Friends of Riverbend Park receive a check for $2,000 from Celebrate Great Falls, which will pay for a summer intern. The Friends of Riverbend Park donated $10,000 for this summer, to pay for five interns.

Members of the Riverbend Park Staff and the Friends of Riverbend Park receive a check for $2,000 from Celebrate Great Falls, which will pay for a summer intern. The Friends of Riverbend Park donated $10,000 for this summer, to pay for five interns. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

Celebrate Great Falls presented the Friends of Riverbend Park with a $2,000 check Tuesday, May 21, which will help fund a paid summer intern for the park.

“The Friends of Riverbend Park gave a presentation at the annual nonprofit forum in Great Falls, and we were immediately struck by the needs and importance of the internship program,” said Mike Kearney, owner of The Old Brogue and member of Celebrate Great Falls. “We had originally planned to donate about $1,000, but after hearing what the program does, we decided to double it.”

“The camps and programs are a great source of revenue for the park as well. Each intern generates about 10 times what we pay them in fees for the summer camps.”

-- Julie Gurnee, a staff member at the park

The Friends of Riverbend Park have already contributed $10,000 to the park that will fund five interns this year. The interns, students at local colleges, will run the park’s more than 600 camps and summer programs this summer.

“The interns come from Fairfax County, and they all have demonstrated interest in outdoor skills and education. They’ll be teaching things like fishing, primitive life, biology and other sciences. It’s a good program for these students to find a niche that they’re interested in teaching,” said Julie Gurnee, a staff member at the park. “The camps and programs are a great source of revenue for the park as well. Each intern generates about 10 times what we pay them in fees for the summer camps.”

Tim Hackman, president of the Friends of Riverbend Park, said the organization is always looking for ways to help bring in revenue for the park, which has seen its funding drop by 25 percent over the last several years.

“Riverbend Park is a great way to address the ‘nature deficit disorder’ that a lot of people seem to have these days,” he said. “These interns help us help Riverbend Park, and the revenue is what’s going to help this park continue into the future.”

Riverbend Park consists of 411 acres of forests and meadows, which includes more than two miles of land along the Potomac River.

The $2,000 donation from Celebrate Great Falls will go to funding interns for the summer of 2014.