This semester I got to see what a town planner does! My mentor was Melissa Dickerson, a super woman who keeps Manteo running.
My first week with Melissa was right after Hurricane Dorian. I went with her to a county meeting with FEMA. I had no idea how coastal towns received aid money after natural disasters so this was a super eye-opening first day to say the least. The downtown boardwalk area had some damage so I tagged along while Melissa showed FEMA workers the areas that needed repair.
During my time here, I helped out with the Plan Update Working Group, a group made up of community members whose primary goal is to review and update the Town’s 20 year plan. More specifically, I helped out with the Working Group’s Wayfinding Sub-committee. Before this semester, I didn’t realize how important wayfinding is to towns. I helped out by making powerpoints and transcribing meeting minutes. One of the first powerpoints I helped make was a presentation on the signage posted along the three bridges that connect to Manteo. These pictures are good examples of what the sub-committee is reviewing.
I got to meet a lot of the people working in Town Hall and was even able to sit through a couple Board of Commissioners meetings. It was an amazing experience to see first-hand how local government is run. I’m so thankful for the people in Town Hall that always took the time to explain things to me and introduce me to other people. I can’t make this post without saying how great a mentor Melissa was! She always gave me work that exposed me to new things and was so much fun to work with. The opportunities given to me this semester have exceeded even my highest expectations and I’m so glad I got to be apart of this program.
It’s officially been over a month since we all met at CSI for the first time (I checked, it was August 20th)!
In honor of this anniversary, I think it’s only right for me to reflect on some of the cool things I’ve seen while here!
Before I came to Manteo this semester, I came up with a tiny list of things I absolutely must do while here. The biggest task I wanted to complete was seeing all the Outer Banks lighthouses. Because Bodie Lighthouse is the closest to us, it was the first I visited. I would first like to point out how difficult it is to pronounce “Bodie” like “body” instead of like “boady.” I don’t know why this is such an issue for me but it is! Besides that hiccup, it was so amazing and dare I say fulfilling to finally see a lighthouse in person. I can’t wait to visit more (Hatteras is next)!
During my second weekend here, my sister came to visit me and I knew that I wanted to show her the lighthouse! During that visit, we even paid ($10 :/ ) to climb all the way up the stairs (10 flights!!). This is a picture I took when we were at the top. Before this trip, I didn’t think I was scared of heights but this has since made me reconsider.
That same weekend, my sister and I visited the Wright Brothers Memorial. This was also an item on my list. Talking to my sister, I think we felt the same way about this place. It was something we had to visit and see as people who’ve lived in NC our whole lives. The Wright Brothers are basically part of the curriculum here-every school-aged kid knows what they did more or less. It also felt good to finally go to the very place that our license plates are designed after.
Also, I visited Jockey’s Ridge. The group had previously visited it on our way back from our first CAB meeting. That following weekend, I visited again after buying a new kite from the store across the street. I had always wanted a classic box kite so I was thrilled when I saw one that matched the kite I’d pictured in my head. I have a kite at home that I had forgotten to bring with me when I moved in. It’s a huge sea turtle and the kite tail is made up of tiny baby turtles. When my sister visited, she brought my kite with her and we flew them at Jockey’s Ridge. After seeing both fly, I think the box kite might be my new favorite.
All in all, I have really reallyyyyy enjoyed my time here in the OBX so far. I am getting to know my amazing classmates and explore this beautiful place more each day. I can’t wait to see what this week brings!
Please enjoy this sunset I saw with my sister at CSI 🙂