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Get Your Hands on Your Future
Greta Vanderloop had fair warning.
The application materials for management internship at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco included a job description that said in part: "The work is hard and the hours are long — very long."
To re-emphasize that point and make sure students knew what they were potentially getting into, the next sentence was in bold type and underlined: "This is not an easy summer job."
Vanderloop, a senior at University of Wisconsin-Stout, wasn't deterred.
Why? Having the Bohemian Club, known worldwide in the hospitality industry, on her resume is like a golden ticket to a good job in her field after college. She will graduate in May with a degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
"It was a mind-blowing opportunity," said Vanderloop, of Menomonie, who landed the internship after surviving a highly competitive selection process.
Indeed, the hours were long — up to 19 a day during one stretch — and the work was challenging, but Vanderloop would do it all over again. In fact, she has been invited back for a second summer internship in 2014 at the exclusive private club that has counted former U.S. presidents, heads of state, business tycoons and famous entertainers among its members.
Membership is all male and by invitation only. "It's a great honor to work there," said Phil McGuirk, an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism who has visited the club on behalf of UW-Stout. "After 10 weeks they come out with a lot of knowledge."
The club, founded in 1872, includes a six-story building in downtown San Francisco and a 2,700-acre reserve, the Grove, in a redwood forest north of the city. Summer management interns are needed mostly for the Grove's annual two-week Summer Encampment, which is attended by most of the club's 2,500 members from around the world.
"It's like a big Boy Scout camp," Vanderloop said of the Grove, which has 119 distinct camps inside the gated facility, a 1,100-seat outdoor restaurant, performance stages and recreational facilities. Members listen to daily lectures by experts in literature, enjoy big-name musical performances and see original theatrical productions.
The Summer Encampment and a shorter Spring Jinks at the Grove is where members escape the outside world, are intellectually stimulated, entertained and can relax while enjoying camaraderie and the outdoors.
Members past and present have included Mark Twain, George H.W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Jack London, Colin Powell, Richard Nixon, Art Linkletter, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Walter Cronkite, Joseph Coors, William Randolph Hearst and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Vanderloop noticed comedian Conan O'Brien and country singer Zach Brown among last summer's attendees.
It's all about service
Serving the members is where Vanderloop and her team of seven college interns come in. They hired and managed a group of 340 teenage servers and busers and also managed kitchen staff, the linen area and an employee shuttle.
"We give them top service. They're treated well," she said of the members.
During the encampment, typical hours were from 5 a.m. to midnight for 17 straight days, Vanderloop said. Up to 3,000 meals and 400 bottles of wine were served a day.
"The members are so incredibly nice to all the workers, and we are treated so special because we work so hard," she said.
Vanderloop is the second intern from UW-Stout at the Bohemian Club. The first one, recent graduate Mark Krebs, now is the beverage manager and one of the club's approximately 115 full-time employees.
The club always has been all male, but it employs men and women. The club's downtown San Francisco facility hosts more than 200 yearly productions on culture and art, including concerts and plays.
Management interns are paid $600 a week, and their housing, laundry and food are covered. They also have time off to tour Sonoma County wineries and experience many new things. Vanderloop, for example, tasted a $3,000-a-bottle wine, one of the world's most expensive.
Vanderloop is leaning toward returning to the Bohemian Club next year. "They said our group of management interns was the best they've had so far," she said.
For more information on UW-Stout's School of Hospitality Leadership, go to the website.