Monday, June 20, 2011

SNP --> Week 5

This past week John and I spent a lot of time with administration. I learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes work that it takes to run the park. There are definitely many more components than I would have guessed. I spent time working with the people from budget, personnel, and property acquisition among others. One of the highlights of the week was getting advice from Pete Webster's wife, Dawn, about resume writing. This was very helpful and I'm sure I'll be using the tips I received that day for many years (and job applications) to come! Wednesday John and I went out with Norm to map picnic grounds using a GPS unit. Sound familiar? That's because I helped him do the same thing a couple weeks back at Pinnacles picnic ground. So this past week, when we mapped Elk Wallow and Dickey Ridge Picnic Grounds, I felt like an expert.

(Martha, the superintendent, is on the right. She is part of a panel discussion at concessions training.)

Friday was also a special day. John and I had the honor of riding around with the superintendent of Shenandoah National Park! Martha had a lot of advice to share with us and it was really cool hearing about all the various parks she has worked in over the years. I also had the opportunity to talk with the deputy superintendent, Jennifer, on the same day. She used to work at FLETC and so it was really cool to be able to ask her about that and what her experiences were like while she was there. She, also, gave me some really good advice.

Finally, I would like to second what John posted earlier this past week. The uniform that we wear is symbolic of the entire National Park Service and all that it stands for. How we wear it directly reflects on our own attitudes and also has a huge impact on how the rest of the public perceives us as park employees. When I put on my uniform every day I make sure to do my best to keep it looking sharp. I am honored to have the opportunity to wear it and I would hope that y'all (sorry... I seem to have picked up the local VA accent...) would feel and do the same. Just the other day John and I were walking around Byrd Visitors Center with our flat hats on (which made us feel very official) and just about every person we saw came up and wanted to talk to us, tell us about the bear they had seen, ask directions, or take a picture with us. Being admired like that is a very cool experience but it comes with a lot of responsibility. Wear your uniform sharply, completely, and fully. At the same time, get to know your parks and be ready and excited to share them with visitors.

(Me standing in front of the bleachers being set up at Big Meadows for the 75th Anniversary next Saturday)

Next week the employees of Shenandoah National Park will be on the other side of the 75th Anniversary Celebration. Many of us here are excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Hopefully we will all make it there in one piece! Think of us during this stressful but incredibly exciting time as we prepare for Saturday's ceremony.

Until next week,
Heather Hyde

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