Youth Projects Intern

In early 2008 CDSS created a new staff position -- the Youth Projects Intern -- to promote youth involvement in our traditions, support youth leadership in the community, develop new programs and resources, and represent CDSS at events. Read more about each of our interns and their work below.

Mary Wesley (Intern 2011-2012)

Hello, neighbor! As the new CDSS Youth Intern for 2011-2012, I hope you'll consider me your personal connection to CDSS. I am here to listen to your ideas, answer your questions when I can, and connect you with people and resources to help support your goals. I am also here to learn from you! I rely on you to be my eyes on the world of song and dance that we all love and share. Please give me a shout with any questions, stories or ideas you think I should know about:

Max Newman (Intern 2009-2010)

Max grew up dancing and playing for dances in Alaska and has been living on the East Coast since graduating from Harvard. He enjoyed hearing from and speaking to folks across the country and developing some new, exciting programs and resources. He is especially pleased to have spearheaded the creation of the CDSS Blog, for which he still serves as Blogmaster, and has helped expand CDSS's Facebook presence. You can reach him at

Ethan Hazzard-Watkins (Intern 2008-2009)

In April of 2008 I started in what was then a brand new position at CDSS. The folks in charge said "Go Forth! Recruit Youth! Keep track of how you do it." And so, with input and suggestions from other CDSS staff and Board members, I decided on a few things to focus on: providing advice and connecting people, creating materials for new leaders and organizers, developing new programs within CDSS, and traveling to events in various parts of the country.

  • Advice and Connections -- One very valuable (and fun!) aspect of my work has been communicating with people all over the continent about what's going on where they live. I've answered questions about how to start new groups, suggested ways to draw more young people to a series, helped college students organize events on campus, offered advice to young musicians and callers, brainstormed sources of funding, and helped young people find mentors. I don't know all the answers for these situations, but because of CDSS's role as an association of individual members and affiliate groups, I've been able to connect people doing similar work and help them share resources and ideas.
  • New Materials -- I wrote and edited lots of How-to materials designed to help people of all ages start new events, groups, and teams and to improve existing programs. These instructional documents draw on advice from successful organizers, my observations and personal experience, and input from lots of other people. See our Youth Resources & Advice page for these youth-specific Starter Kits, or browse our whole collection of Advice & How-To guides.
  • New Programs -- I also spearheaded the creation of several new programs and services within CDSS designed to help young people get involved and learn new skills. See our Youth Resources & Advice page for more about mentorship, a youth group discount in the CDSS Store, and more.
  • Travel -- Probably the most enjoyable aspect of my work as Youth Intern has been the opportunity to travel around and meet cool people who are doing exciting things in their communities. I learned a great deal from observing places where there is a thriving youth scene, and I was able to pass on that knowledge to areas where it will help expand involvement by young people.