I am Hilary Grabowska, a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador for the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield, C&O Canal National Historical Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.

August 17 was the first day of school here in West Virginia and that means that summer is over. What this means for our National Parks is that our summer youth staff have left. But, they have left their mark on the National Parks they worked in and they helped each other to #FindYourPark.

Photo: Hilary Grabowska

At the beginning of the summer, youth staff from across the National Capitol Region gathered at Prince William Forest Park where they bonded over lunch and team building activities as well as the opportunity to try their hand at archery. At the end of the day, they all left with new friendships and the challenge to create a #FindYourPark video for their park.


Photo: Hilary Grabowska

The students accepted the challenge and created some amazing videos! There was a search for the White House, a new song was written, and the students asked visitors to help them make their park better. The videos competed against each other and were judged by some very special guest judges: Superintendent of Rock Creek Park Tara Morrison, former New England Patriots Darryl Haley, REI Market Manager Matt Liddle, VP Account Director of Grey Advertising Casey Potash and Supervising Producer of Stone Soup Films Melissa Rogers.


Photo: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

As the students return to school, we hope they think of their summer with a National Park Service unit with fondness and that it will inspire them to volunteer in their National Parks!