In The Thicket

Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Justin and his girlfriend Amanda at Justin’s property out past Steeleville.  It is literally in the middle of nowhere.  And it’s awesome!  Last summer, I went out for the weekend.  This trip was just for the day, but we had a great time.

Our plan was to pick blackberries, ride ATVs, and shoot rifles.  We didn’t end up shooting, but we most certainly had fun.  Before we left, Justin’s dad told us that the forest ranger for the area said that they had found bear poop on their property – i.e. bears had moved in.  No one in Justin’s family had seen any bears, but we wanted to be prepared, especially since blackberries would be prime area for black bears. (We didn’t see any bears or traces of bears either.)

Getting out to their land takes you through part of the country that most people never see.  It is certainly an experience and I really do like it.  There are definitely parts of that culture though that I do not understand, other than perhaps doing things that are convenient (e.g. parking a car in the middle of a front yard of a house on main street, using a school that caught on fire as a junk yard).

We drove around on the ATVs, raced through some fields, and picked a ton of blackberries.  The grass was high and I definitely ate some grass seed :-).  We spent several hours out there picking blackberries, walking into blackberry thickets (really the only way to describe them), getting stuck by thorns, picking berries, and trying to avoid bugs and bees that were buzzing around.  We even got out a machete and hacked our way into different areas in the middle of the bushes to get more berries.

I had to wash my hands about 20 times to get the stains out.  Those berries sure are good.

Getting ready to head out for a day of ATV riding and blackberry picking.

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September

I cannot believe September is here already!  This summer has flown by and now fall is quickly approaching.  This summer has been an amazing one.  I have learned so much, met great people, and spent time with people who are important to me.  While I was not at camp as much as I would have liked, the internship experience was more than I could have asked for.

As I spend my last week in St. Louis with friends and family, I reflect on my last summer of college and the experiences I have had – as well as the potential for the upcoming year.  Below are two songs that involve “September”.  They are both great songs with meaning that can be taken many different ways.  Interpret as you will, but always with a hopeful eye on the future.

Daughtry – September

How the time passed away? All the trouble that we gave
And all those days we spent out by the lake
Has it all gone to waste? All the promises we made
One by one they vanish just the same

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

Now it all seems so clear, there’s nothing left to fear
So we made our way by finding what was real
Now the days are so long that summer’s moving on
We reach for something that’s already gone

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

We knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how
We would end up here the way we are
Yeah we knew we had to leave this town
But we never knew when and we never knew how

Of all the things I still remember
Summer’s never looked the same
The years go by and time just seems to fly
But the memories remain

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain
Nothing to lose but everything to gain
Reflecting now on how things could’ve been
It was worth it in the end

Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father’s come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

ring out the bells again
like we did when spring began
wake me up when September ends

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

like my father’s come to pass
twenty years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends
wake me up when September ends

Washington, D.C.

I have not posted anything on here lately because I have been on vacation with my family.  We went to Washington, D.C. for several days.  They were certainly action packed but I really liked what we saw.  That included:

  • National Mall
  • A lot of monuments, statues, and memorials – WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Boy Scout monument, Ulysses S. Grant Monument
  • Washington Monument – rode up
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of American History
  • Air & Space Museum
  • Freer Art Gallery
  • Smithsonian Castle
  • National Archives
  • The White House
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing
  • U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • U.S. Capital
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Pentagon
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Chinatown
  • Georgetown
  • DuPont Circle/Embassy Row

Basically, it was a great vacation and we saw a lot.  I would like to go back and see more/some things again when I have more time to do so in a more relaxed manner.

I am looking forward to actually relaxing for the first time this summer.  That is not to happen yet though as I am leaving to go to a wedding in just a few minutes.  Hopefully after getting back on Monday, things will slow down or at least allow for sleeping time before I go back to Denver for school.

End of Internship & Final Project List

Well, today was the last day of my internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I cannot believe how quickly it went.  While I was a bit unsure about leaving summer camp, I have had an amazing experience and learned, contributed, and grew more than I ever could have expected.  I am very happy to have had this experience.

Today I had the ability to sit down with Tim and Karen and talk for a bit, get to know Darlene better (she is the head of HR), complete projects, clean up, and say my goodbyes.  Although, I hope they are really just “see you laters”.  That would be wonderful.  I plan on keeping up with the progress of the company and related news.  I will certainly be back to visit BearQuarters and stay in touch with those I worked with this summer.  Who knows – if I am lucky, I will have the opportunity to do so again.

Below is the final list of the projects I completed in my internship this summer:

Project List

  • Updated Merchandising Assortment Guide (MAG)
  • Updated and branded prospective franchisee materials
  • Partnered in the preparation of a PowerPoint presentation on International for a Board of Directors meeting
  • Compiled international store profit/loss analysis
  • Analyzed seasonal global sales by country and product for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
    • Developed tools for an international assessment of the World Cup program
    • Created reports for the FIFA licensor towards evaluation of a contract for the 2014 World Cup
  • Created a “toolkit” to assist franchisees in driving sales during Quarter 4 / 2010 Holidays that involved compilation and creation of resources from across the company
  • Helped plan the 2010 International Operations Summit
    • Developed presentation materials for presenters
  • Organized international store pictures
  • Updated international store layout/blueprint records for store fixture assessment
  • Researched 2011 International Licensing Opportunities
  • Analyzed international supply chain/inventory flow and product loads by country as a tool for assessing the international franchise model
  • Assisted franchisees in developing inventory forecasts and turnover/ordering projections
  • Reviewed new store proposal/design and real estate opportunities
  • Offered feedback on business plans submitted by prospective franchisees
  • Conducted merchandise reviews for seasonal and core product planning, ordering, and delivery
  • Developed tools for end-of-season program evaluation and product analysis
  • Assisted in the development of strategy and promotional plans for complimentary business products
  • Acted on behalf of franchisees in resolving disputed invoices
  • Assisted with headquarters training of franchisees
  • Filled out a Franchise Offering Circular for new franchise development
  • Forecasted yearly revenue from royalties and development fee amortization in developing the FY2011 International Department budget
  • Communicated regularly with franchisees worldwide

Through these projects I have been able to:

  • Analyze and evaluate product sales
  • Assist in franchise development
  • Help franchisees become more profitable while increasing royalties to Build-A-Bear Workshop®
Countries with Build-A-Bear Franchises (as of 13 August 2010)

Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Russia, Singapore

It may seem unrealistic to have done all of this in just ten weeks, but that is the reality of Build-A-Bear Workshop – surpassing expectations. 🙂

Behind On My Posts

I need to go to bed, but (partially as a reminder to myself) I still need to post about quite a few things from my internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop this summer that I am behind on:

  • My internship presentation to the Chiefs and Managing Directors
  • Meeting with Maxine Clark, Chief Executive Bear
  • Preparations for tomorrow’s Quarterly BearQuarters Meeting
  • Tomorrow’s Quarterly BearQuarters meeting
  • My recent projects

It’s amazing that I am almost halfway done with my last week of the internship!  I have no idea where the summer has gone.  It has certainly been great.

Thoughts On The Week & A Meaningful Song From Jason Mraz

I have not done so well at posting things this week.  Life has just been crazy busy – but in a good way.  Unfortunately, because I am so busy, I have to turn down opportunities to see friends and family (which I, of course, would rather not do).  I wish there was more time to see people.

It’s been an extremely busy week at work – and the work I am doing is certainly useful.  I have been helping to plan the fall Operations Summit, preparing my presentation on my internship that I will be giving to the Build-A-Bear Workshop Chiefs and Managing Directors, compiling sales data for license product contract renewal, completing filings with governments for new franchise business development, and much more.

I cannot believe that one week from tomorrow will be the last day of my internship!  This summer has gone so fast!

As I reflect on the summer, I find the words of “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz meaningful.  The song was shared this week at BearQuarters:

Details in the Fabric
by: Jason Mraz

Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling all your threads saying
Breaking yourself up

If it’s a broken part, replace it
But, if it’s a broken arm then brace it
If it’s a broken heart then face it

And hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything will be fine
Everything will be fine

Hang on
Help is on the way
Stay strong
I’m doing everything

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything, everything will be fine
Everything

Are the details in the fabric
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?

Are the things that make you blow
No reason, go on and scream
If you’re shocked it’s just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing.

Yeah everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Everything

Hold your own
And know your name
And go your own way

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own, know your name)
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? (Go your own way)

Are the things that make you blow (Hold your own, know your name)
No reason go on and scream
If you’re shocked it’s just the fault (Go your own way)
Of faulty manufacturing

Everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Hearts will hold

A Bit More On Camp (+ Pictures & Video)

Where has the summer gone?  The last week of campers leaves on Saturday and the staff will be out on Sunday (baring craziness).

We spend all year talking about and getting ready for camp and then it is over just like that.  I did not even work on staff this year and yet this feeling is still real.  So much of the time I spend with my camp friends is spent talking about the upcoming year and reminiscing about the past.  It is amazing how time flies.  I wonder what this next year will bring with so many people discussing not returning to camp…

When I was at camp last weekend, I took a decent amount of pictures. S-F is the home of many memories and friendships.  I’ve got some pretty good pictures of camp, as well as several from Lambert’s.

When I was stepping into a skit during the closing campfire last friday, I asked my friend Ray to take some pictures and he ended up taking a video of part of the Knob Lick Knickerbockers skit, a spoof on the Knob Lick Knockers skit that we do every opening campfire.  S-F Scout Ranch is in Knob Lick, Missouri.  Knob Lick Knockers is a skit about a “model patrol” and how to set up your campsite for a good week of camp.  The Knickerbockers have Jeeves.  Check it out:

There are quite a few things that may be changing for next summer.  I hope they all change for the best.  I look forward to the future.  2010 is the 100th Anniversary of Scouting.  Hopefully it will be here for another 100 years.  I look forward to doing my part to ensure its continuation as boys need to understand the value of citizenship, leadership, service, and the outdoors.

Eating lunch outside of Astronaut's Hall.

The Banner Ranch

Part of me would love to live in some rural area.  I find an appeal in the middle of nowhere lifestyle that I can’t really describe.  So many times I hear rural/country/”hick” lifestyles demeaned, but as I thought about it this weekend, I do not think I would know how to live in many different situations.

I spent a good part of the weekend at my friend’s ranch/land/farm in the middle of nowhere Missouri.  My friend Justin and his family have some land off of Indian Trail State Forest (there is basically no information on that place online).  There nearest town that we drove through on the way there was Cherryville, which from what we could tell as one main store and three churches.

A picture of the cabin at the Baner Ranch from an earlier high school trip.

Since I first joined Troop 310 in 1999, we would go out there and shoot guns, make fires, play poker, hang out, etc.  When we got older, they got ATVs and we would start riding those.  It got harder to get people together once we all went to college, but we have been back a few times.  It was great going back this weekend.  I really love that land and the openness and freedom it represents.

We watched an amazing heat lightning storm on Friday night from the back of a pickup (with a tractor tire in the bed haha), rode ATVs (on roads, on trails, and in the middle of the forest), shot guns (.22 rifle, .308 rifle, .50 blackpowder pistol – 1700s era), picked blackberries, saw the Banner’s new vineyard, and reminisced about old times.  We had a dutch oven roast and a dutch oven cobbler.  It’s been a while since I have been able to say that.

It was certainly strange though not having our whole old group there.  It was also weird to not to have any parents there.  When we used to go out there, we always had a parent come with us. for extra supervision with the guns and whatnot (we were younger) and so they could enjoy it as well.  Mr. Banner (Justin’s dad) would also help get stuff ready for us and help with clean up – even in later years.  This time though we had to take care of everything ourselves.  Apparently that’s what happens when you grow up.

I hope to go back out there soon.  Spending time with people I have been friends with since 5th grade has definitely been a highlight of this summer.  As we all go different places, I hope we can continue to come back together.

Five/Six Weeks Out Of Ten

Well, I am now more than half way through my internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I cannot believe how fast this summer is going.  It seems as though I just got home from Denver, yet so much has happened.  This internship has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to the second half.

Below is a list of the projects I have been working on so far.  Some of these have been more involved on my part whereas others were more being a part of conference calls/meetings and offering my thoughts and suggestions.

  • Updated Merchandising Assortment Guide (MAG)
  • Updated and branded prospective franchisee materials
  • Prepared Board of Directors PowerPoint presentation
  • Compiled international store profit/loss analysis
  • Analyzed seasonal global sales by country and product
  • Created a “toolkit” to assist franchisees in driving sales during Quarter 4 / 2010 Holidays that involved compilation and creation of resources from across the company
  • Helped plan the 2010 International Operations Summit
  • Organized store information (pictures, blueprints)
  • Researched 2011 International Licensing Opportunities
  • Analyzed international supply chain/inventory flow and product loads by country as a tool for assessing the international franchise model
  • Assisted franchisees in developing inventory forecasts, turnover, and ordering projections
  • Reviewed new store proposal/design and real estate opportunities
  • Offered feedback on business plans submitted by prospective franchisees
  • Communicated regularly with franchisees worldwide

I have also met with, spoken on the phone, and/or emailed people in every continent except Antarctica.  I’m pretty excited about that.

As I have been developing the Holiday Toolkit, I looked for resources to use in writing introductions to each section.  One such resource is Maxine Clark’s book, “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company With Heart“.  Here is one quote I would like to share:

Bosses are in charge and dictatorial.  Leaders listen to what their employees have to say and create a climate of reciprocal respect.

I have been lucky to work for leaders.  I hope that trend continues.  I am excited to see where the rest of this summer will lead…

A Favorite Song For Summer 2010

In addition to one of my favorite current songs, Airplanes by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams, there is another song that has been stuck in my head and reminds me of summer.  It just has that let loose, enjoy yourself, make the most of where you are and who you are with feel.  The song is “California Gurls” by Katy Perry ft. Snoog Dog.  It is also currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The music video is rather scandalous and ironically reminds of my Candyland and Alice in Wonderland…

Here are the lyrics:

[Snoop Dogg]
Greetings loved ones
Let’s take a journey

[Katy Perry – Verse 1]
I know a place
Where the grass is really greener
Warm, wet and wild
There must be somethin’ in the water
Sippin’ gin and juice
Layin’ underneath the palm trees (Undone)
The boys
Break their necks
Try’na creep a little sneak peek (At us)

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the Golden Coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California girls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California girls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Verse 2]
Sex on the beach
We don’t mind sand in our Stilettos
We freak
In my Jeep
Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo (Oh oh)

You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the Golden Coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California girls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California gurls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

[Snoop Dogg – Verse 3]
Toned, tanned
Fit and ready
Turn it up ’cause it’s gettin’ heavy
Wild, wild Westcoast
These are the girls I love the most
I mean the ones
I mean like she’s the one
Kiss her
Touch her
Squeeze her buns

The girl’s a freak
She drives a Jeep
and lives on the beach
I’m okay
I won’t play
I love the Bay
Just like I love L.A.
Venice Beach
And Palm Springs
Summertime is everything

Homeboys
Hangin’ out
All that ass
Hangin’ out
Bikinis, tankinis, martinis
No weenies
Just a king
And a queen-ie
Katy my lady
(Yeah)
You’re lookin’ here baby
(Uh huh)
I’m all up on you
‘Cause you representin’ California
(Ohhh yeahh)

[Katy Perry – Chorus]
California gurls
We’re unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We’ll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

California gurls
We’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce
We got it on lock
Westcoast represent
(Westcoast, Westcoast)
Now put your hands up
Oooooh oh oooooh

Snoop Dogg:
(Californiaaa, Californiaaa)
California girls man
I wish they all could be
California girls
(Californiaaa)
I really wish
You all could be
California girls
(Californiaaa, girls)