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B-HIP intern Max Dakin (far right) with BerkChique! Preview Party chair Vicki Bonnington (second from right), Berkshire Creative Managing Director Julia Dixon (second from left), and event attendee Darcie Sosa (far left).

Intern works to strengthen the Berkshires


When Max Dakin of Lenox, Mass., looked for a summer internship to support his desire to work in business development for non-profit organizations, he did not need to go far: MCLA’s Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) was the perfect match.

A student at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., where he majors in liberal arts, Dakin is working this summer at Berkshire Creative and 1Berkshire. There, he is making connections with people from all sectors of economic development as he learns about the creative economy and its importance within the Berkshires.

“I’m participating in this internship program to discover more about my interests and capabilities, which will give me a better idea of what career I want to pursue,” Dakin said. “I have learned that I like working with creative people, including artists, but I'm not interested in an artistic career.

“This program in arts management has helped me see that I’m more interested in the relationship between artists and the community,” he explained. “And, through my work at 1Berkshire, I’m developing a taste for community and economic development.”

Berkshire Creative, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and the Berkshire Visitor’s Bureau have worked together since 2010 as an umbrella organization known as “1Berkshire,” which is dedicated to economic development in the region. The three groups collaborate and share resources to support a variety of local businesses and industries, attract visitors and businesses to the community, and develop a strong Berkshire workforce.

One of Dakin’s projects this summer is to coordinate several pilot events for interns across Berkshire County.

“The Berkshires has a high number of summer interns in various fields, but they are generally disconnected with each other and lack a community of peers,” he explained. “1Berkshire is testing out a series of events for Berkshire interns that will connect them to each other and to this community in which they live for a short time. I am developing some events that I think would be attractive and fun for interns, and I hope these can develop into a larger program for interns in the County.”

The best part of working at Berkshire Creative/1Berkshire, Dakin said, is the feeling of responsibility his internship provides.

“I am treated like a team member and given assignments and tasks that have real effects,” he said. “Many of the people I work with are eager to include me in conversations and are interested in my personal development.”

B-HIP interns participate in cultural outings throughout the Berkshires. So far, Dakin’s favorites include a Berkshire Theatre Group preview performance of “Thoreau,” and a tour of the “Van Gogh and Nature” exhibit at the Clark.

On the tour of the Clark, Dakin gained a great perspective of the museum’s role as a cultural leader in the community, as well as the significance of its collection. “The Clark, as a well-renowned, well-attended institution, has a responsibility to support the other organizations and businesses in Williamstown and throughout the Berkshires,” Dakin said.

“I feel proud of my community and optimistic for its future, and I’d like to be involved in creating a successful future for the Berkshires. Though this community is small in population, it is vastly spread out across the County, so it’s important for all of us to connect to one another and support each other.

“Partnerships and collaboration are the keys to future success,” Dakin said, “so I try to make as many personal connections as I can, to help strengthen the Berkshire network and my own community.”