Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Getting Settled at Colonial National Historical Park

Welcome back! If you’re reading this, that means that I’ve completed my first week of the ProRanger internship at Colonial National Historical Park (and learned how to get the Wifi running on my laptop)! For those who may not know, Colonial is located a mere thirty minutes north of Norfolk, Virginia. The park is situated in two of the most important locations in United States history, colonial Yorktown and historic Jamestown. Over the course of the summer, I will be engaging with multiple independent divisions within the park, including administration, law enforcement, maintenance, natural/cultural resources, and interpretation. Each division has its own proud staff that I will be working with and after meeting many employees over the first week, I can humbly say that I am immeasurably thankful for the hospitality that they have shown me.
I was fortunate enough to land in Yorktown a few days before my adventure within Colonial began, so I spent the time exploring as a visitor and attempting to fit all that the park has to offer within those few days. Believe it or not, you would need to spend a number of days here at Colonial if you would like to truly experience and enjoy all of the historical, cultural, and recreational activities that the park offers. During these days, I also settled into my housing at the United States Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown. As you can see, I am living quite comfortably in a suite intended for two that also offers a number of amenities like a fridge/microwave, TV with media players, and a private bathroom/shower. I have access to a number of facilities that house exercise equipment and a pool, and even other places like a cyber café and a movie theater. In addition, I eat at the dining hall directly across from my dorm.
Now that I familiarized myself with the beautiful scenery and area within which I’ll be living, I could focus my complete attention to my internship. I must say that I learned significantly more than I was anticipating in only my first three days as a ProRanger. Specifically, I have been working with law enforcement throughout both day- and nightshifts so that I may experience what a typical encounter with the public is like. A law enforcement officer I learner however, has a job that is far from typical. Over a course of seventy-two hours, I learned a great amount of information about law enforcement rangers. For example, I am learning how to operate a radio between dispatch and other rangers, I have learned how to write warnings and violations to drivers on the Parkway, and I’ve learned so much about how a ranger stays prepared and ready on a daily basis. 

As my weeks here continue, I am confident that I will gain a clear understanding of what it means to not only be a law-enforcement ranger, but also of how national parks operate as a whole. Each division is so important to the prosperity of a park, and I cannot wait to learn more about how I can contribute. Furthermore, I cannot wait to be able to share my experiences with YOU! I appreciate your company with me thus far, and I look forward to my upcoming blog with plenty more detail about my daily activities. Thanks for reading!

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