Smithsonian Latino Center

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Young Ambassador, Yesenia Muñoz at the children’s baile folklórico performance. (Courtesy of the National Museum of Mexican Art.)
Young Ambassador, Yesenia Muñoz at the children’s baile folklórico performance. (Courtesy of the National Museum of Mexican Art.)

Having the last week of my internship come to an end made me sad because I hate goodbyes. As I told many of my friends and family, the summer camp participants and my experience at the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) brought so much joy into my everyday life. My co-workers have also contributed to some great memories because of their kind and humorous personalities. They have allowed me to feel welcomed and safe in a new environment that I was unsure and unprepared to encounter.

Many of the activities that we did during my last week included finishing pieces of art that the kids created throughout the six-week camp. They finalized with their mini shadow play, which they created with different figures and backgrounds seen through an overhead projector. They also finished practicing their baile folklórico, Mexican folkloric dance.

Yesenia helping a child from summer camp complete her final project. (Courtesy of the National Museum of Mexican Art.)

The Thursday of my last week, the parents visited the museum, where all of the summer camp participants’ art was displayed for them to enjoy. The students also performed their shadow play and their baile folklórico for their parents. All the girls were dressed in a traditional dress from Jalisco with tocados, handmade by the dance instructor. The boys were dressed in black pants and a white shirt with a blue bandana around their collars. After weeks of hard work, I can honestly say that they did an amazing job with their baile and their performances. After seeing them struggle on the steps for weeks, I could not have been any more proud of them. It brought so much joy to my heart to see all the smiles on the parents’ faces and to see the kids do such a great job in their dance.

Baile folklórico performance by the children at the museum. (Courtesy of Yesenia Muñoz.)

My last day was supposed to be that Thursday but I came in an extra day because this internship found a special place in my heart. After spending four weeks at the National Museum of Mexican Art, I can honestly say that I have grown in so many ways. My love for the kids has showed me so much about myself. For example, this experience has reassured me that I would like to continue working with kids in the future as a pediatrician. I found such joy and excitement around them because of their endless energy and their playful personalities. I will not forget even one of these students because every one of them was unique in their own way.

Practicing the performance before the big day. (Courtesy of Yesenia Muñoz.)
Yesenia congratulating the children on their great performance after endless hours perfecting it! (Courtesy of Yesenia Muñoz.)

It touched my heart when the camp had came to an end and some of the students shared the impact I had on them. I received a lot of cute pieces of art that they made for me. They created things that were as simple as a card to even a Talavera flowerpot. What touched me the most was when I was given a flower by one of the students after they were told to give the flowers to someone special in their life. Little things like these are what made my experience that much better. More importantly, however, the relationships that I created with many great people in these five past weeks near and far also had an impact.

Gestures of appreciation given by the children to Yesenia at the last week of her internship. (Courtesy of Yesenia Muñoz.)

Not only has this internship experience taught me a lot about myself, it has also blessed me with the opportunity of hopefully coming back to the museum to work as a tour guide and to continue learning more about myself and the art within my culture. I would love to once again come back and surround myself with more great experiences like those during my internship as well as all the wonderful art.

National Museum of Mexican Art Gallery Piece (Courtesy of Yesenia Muñoz)

At the end of the day, I feel beyond blessed for the opportunity that I was given here and I would not trade a single minute of it. I was reminded of how much effort it takes for a whole project to come together. As we learned during the Young Ambassadors Program Washington Week, it took many teams to pull together a proposal for a teen charla series for our final group project. I learned at NMMA that it also takes many departments to pull together a summer camp. Once again, I was taught that teamwork makes the dream work. These are all memories and lessons that I will truly never forget.