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Wabash Student, Alum Make Bark Park a Reality

A Wabash student and alum teamed last summer to develop an idea for Carmel, Indiana’s first Bark Park. Kurt Snyder ’89 employed Sam Spoerle ’13 during the 2011 summer months.

“Sam worked for me as an paid intern via a grant from Wabash,” Snyder explained. “What he did specifically was do research and other things related to the creation of dog parks in Carmel.  In the end, his research helped me be a better advocate when I spoke to the parks board in Carmel. As a result, the parks board approved it.”

The approval came from Carmel city officials this spring. Here is Sam’s account of the experience.

Sam Spoerle ‘ 13 – Last summer, working with Kurt was awesome. It almost didn’t happen though, because I had initially missed the deadline for the application. It was through the Eli Business Grant and I had not filled out any of the paper work that was needed for me to even apply. With Kurt’s help though, we were able to reopen the application online and I got everything filled out and we had an interview the next week. It helped a lot that I was a dog owner in Carmel too, so this was more than just another internship.

Throughout the summer, I worked primarily at home. Kurt had set up a Dropbox for us to share files with each other. He always had a list of tasks that needed to be done in order to keep the projecting rolling that would be updated in the Dropbox every day. This included hours upon hours of researching local dog parks as well as dog parks all across the country. We conducted multiple interviews with people who had done exactly what we were trying to do.

As the summer went on, we had our research completed and organized in a way that we would present to the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreations board. After talking with Park administrators, we soon realized that our project was not a matter of if it will come to fruition, but when. We had no doubts that we would not be able to push for a dog park in Carmel.

After the summer was over, I had to go back to school. I would do the occasional small project for Kurt, but he became the primary advocate at the meetings. You see, the park administrators that we talked to over the summer continued to email Kurt and I on the updates about the progress of the park. Kurt was attending multiple Park Board meetings and was able to stand up by himself and advocate for a dog park. He continued going and spoke at every meeting until he got the answer he wanted. It was a true example of what Wabash Always Fights really means.

Seeing the fruits of my labor meant so much to me. Internships always have this stigma of being menial tasks that are created simply to give the intern something to do. Kurt really made this project something that we were working on together. I didn’t really feel like an intern, I felt like Kurt’s partner in this entire endeavor. That is what made it so much better for me. WAF!

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