Tuesday, June 12, 2012

VaFo Week 4 Eric Morgan x Lexus Ocampo

Eric after putting out fire
Welcome back! This week was a very busy week for us. We started out this week with seasonal training which lasted two days. The training was more like an orientation for seasonal employees who are new to the park. Training started with a trolley tour which gave us a general overview of the history of the park's monuments and buildings. This trolley tour is available to the public and it is usually 90 minutes long. Our tour was more in-depth and lasted almost three hours. One interesting stop was to the library at Maxwell's Quarters. The library is interesting because there are thousands of books, many very old, that are still available to be taken out to be borrowed. Later that day we were taken to the archive room and Donna, who is in charge of the park's archives, showed us cool artifacts that came from the revolutionary war time period. There were old tools, guns, clothing, and utensils. Donna showed us the difference of the quality and style of objects used by wealthy soldiers and poor soldiers. 

Maxwell Library
The next day we were introduced to the individuals who were in charge of the many different divisions within Valley Forge. Some of those divisions, for example, were resource management, both historical and natural resources, interpretation division, and the representative from the Friends of Valley Forge which is an organization that runs the Encampment Store in the Visitor's Center. Afterwards we were given a presentation about safety and safe practices while working at Valley Forge by Ranger John Waterman, who is also the park's safety officer. Ranger Waterman gave great presentations on what dangers in the park to look out for, like ticks for example. He then gave us an introduction to the Operational Leadership course. Afterwards, Ranger Waterman let us do an exercise in which we were able to learn how to properly maintain and use a fire extinguisher. 

Lexus through lane changes
Thursday was an awesome day. We had driving training administered by John Waterman. It was a course designed to help everyone become safer drivers. We helped set it up with John Waterman before everyone got there. It began with speeding up in between cones then coming to a quick stop then having to reverse straight back through those cones. Next, there was another set of cones that mimicked lane changing which led to a parking spot we had to parallel park in. Finally, another set of cones were set up serpentine style that we had to go forward through then backwards through; this was the best and most difficult part of the course. We took our GSA Fleet through but also got to hang back with LE after Maintenance and Interpretation had left.  It become more of a simulation of EVOC training as we sat as passengers for multiple Rangers taking patrol cars through the course. We also got to each take a patrol car through once! (SEE ABOVE VIDEO ON RIGHT) The idea was to go through at a decent speed to get the feel of a patrol car and what it is going to be like driving in certain situations. Ranger Tim Oh and Ranger Quinn rode along with us giving us pointers and tips while we drove the patrol cars. We also sat as their passengers as they went through the course which Ranger Oh seemed like a genuine pro at completing! John Waterman made sure everyone was following safety procedures and did a good job at giving pointers when driving the patrol car that helped us get through the course more effectively. It was great to experience some EVOC training that we will all take part in during the academy and it was awesome actually  getting to drive patrol cars. Eric drove the Crown Vic and Lexus drove the newer Expedition. There was also an all employee picnic during lunch that allowed us to meet and talk with all of the park's employees which was pretty cool.
Eric heading towards lane change section
     Our finally day of the work week last week was on Friday and we were sent over to Maintenance. We had to clear out all the trash in their boneyard, cut down the grass, then weed wack it. The grass was a couple feet high and covered almost the entirety of all the items they had been storing back there. It was a tough job with the sun constantly beating down on us and crazy allergies but a job we took head on. Stay safe everyone! Until next time!

Eric and Ranger Quinn preparing for course


Lexus reversing through serpentine section

Pro Rangers Eric Morgan and Lexus Ocampo

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