Jessi Whiting: My Experience in the GP Fellowship

October 8, 2014

2014-07-21 - Main Event Week 7A GP Fellow is a highly motivated, teachable, and eager to learn student. This person, who is at least an upperclassman in college and/or 20 years or older, would be a full-time fellow with The Gathering Place who commits to one year of personal and professional growth. The program is designed to help individuals grow in three main ways: to sharpen their leadership skills, to grow spiritually and in their knowledge of Scripture and finally, to grow in professional and career skills. Their work week would be split up into two segments: 20 hours a week working with The Gathering Place staff and the other 20 hours a week would be spent working at another business or organization. The work at The GP and the work at the professional job site placement would be based on their unique individuals skill set. Each Fellow will receive a custom placement, catered to the gifting, skills and career field interests that each fellow has.

To apply to be a GP Fellow, fill out the application here

Jessi Whiting was our first GP Fellow and recounts her experience below.

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Earlier this year, I had the privilege to be the first person to participate in the Gathering Place Fellowship program. The fellowship program is designed to help individuals grow in three main ways: to sharpen their leadership skills, to grow spiritually and in their knowledge of Scripture and finally, to grow in professional and career skills. My work week was split up into two segments: 20 hours a week working with The Gathering Place staff and the other 20 hours a week would be spent at a professional job site with another business or organization.

When I first heard about the opportunity, I was excited, but unsure of how this would affect “post-grad-life.” It was the Fall semester and was to graduate in December from The University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. I knew this sort of internship is not the typical thing you’re “supposed” to do when you graduate from college, but I also knew that God isn’t one with typical plans.

The Gathering Place does a great job at recognizing your gifts and your potential to help you grow in those gifts and reach that potential. God has given me a particular passion for our nation’s military. I firmly believe that I am called to serve those who so sacrificially serve us. I aim to eventually work as a civilian on a military base in the MWR department, which is basically recreation and event planning. With that in mind, The GP connected with Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Kingsland, GA, where I worked in their MWR department. During my 20 hours per week at The Gathering Place, I worked alongside Bryan, the Director of Programs, learning about non-profit management and planning details for the 3 summer internships that take place. Then, during my hours at Kings Bay, I worked as an assistant to the Adult Sports Program Coordinator, planning for seasonal intramural sports, creating a functioning budget, photographing intramural games, keeping up with social media, and other various tasks.

During the Fellowship, I learned so much about transition, about living out your faith, and about myself. Between transitioning from Athens to St. Simons, transitioning from my own family to a new family (my host family), and then from not working much to working full-time, it took a toll on me. But it wasn’t a bad thing. I could see that God placed me in an area where I could utilize the skills that He Himself gave me, even when it took some getting used to. Psalm 3:3 says “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” I saw so clearly the Lord shielding me, lifting my head, and bringing me through this time of transition.

The Gathering Place Fellowship was the perfect way for me to transition from college to the “real world.” I came to realize that this wasn’t just “the next thing” as I look for “the next next thing,” but it was a transition time and I should make sure I’m living in THIS moment. A friend told me once “it’s funny how life comes in seasons.” During the fellowship, I came to realize that God had me there for a reason, He had me there to grow in Him, He had me there to show me new things in this season, and He had me there to prepare me for the next season.

To apply to be a GP Fellow, fill out the application here