Young people are a part of Little Rock Central High School NHS in every way. Nine brave African American teenagers made history in 1957 by exercising their right to an education equal to that of white students. Approximately 2500 teenagers attend Central today. Hundreds of students from kindergarten to high school visit Little Rock Central High School NHS with their families and on field trips. Students from Central and Little Rock volunteer at the site and are part of the Youth Leadership Academy.
Much of my job involves working with fellow young people and designing programs for them. It’s refreshing and encouraging to see people my age and younger who are interested in history and civil rights, as well as people who are usually uninterested learn about our story and enjoy it. I think that the perception of the millennial generation and the one that follows is that we are entitled, apathetic, and addicted to technology. As a millennial and someone who works around young people, I know that isn’t true! Below is a short list of a few things I’ve done this week that involve youth:
- Writing programs for local Girl Scout troops focusing on the Scout Ranger program as well as the Girl Scout Journeys program
- Swearing in several Junior Rangers: it’s great to see kids get excited about learning and how happy they are when they finally get that badge! It’s been a busy month for the Junior Ranger program and we’re running dangerously low on badges, though more are on the way soon.
- Guiding elementary students through our Commemorative Garden: a day camp brought their kids to the site to do the Junior Ranger program. Guiding them was a great opportunity to teach them about the site, Leave No Trace ethics, and even crosswalk safety.
- Filming a video with two current Central students: I want to start a series of videos where current Central students answer frequently asked questions about Central today. Hopefully the first video will be done in a few weeks!
- Recruiting my two youngest siblings (ages 11 and 12) to spend a day volunteering at the site
That’s the basic list of things involving young people this week. I also work with four other interns ages 17 to 22 and community service volunteers who are in high school. Later in the year I plan on developing two internships for Central Students working with the Memory Project (button above). The Memory Project is an oral history club at Central; I was a member and the project introduced me to the Park Service. I also want to create more school programs and public events focused on kids.
Young people aside, I’ve been working on a Centennial project for the Midwest Centennial Committee and reaching out to visitors to share integration stories as part of a Centennial Stories project. It’s been so busy!
Outside of work, yet still related, I’ve been thinking a lot about adulthood in general since I started this internship. I started less than a month after graduating high school, and the transition from having to ask to go to the bathroom to having a full time job in a federal facility is kind of daunting. It requires a lot of growing up in a short period of time too, which isn’t difficult but it’s happening faster than I anticipated.
More updates next week!