I am writing to you from the New River Gorge National River in Wild and Wonderful, West Virginia (and yes West Virginia is a state)! We have finally traded in all of that rain for sunshine and blue skies, it has made this past week perfect for outdoor recreation! The sun came out just in time for our annual Outdoor Adventure Fest that occurred at Grandview, located in the southern district of the park.
The festival’s main focus was getting kids to become certified Junior Rangers! This was done by setting up a series of booths and challenges that they had to complete to get their Junior Ranger cards stamped. The activities consisted of the YMCA discussing healthy lifestyles, a local digital photography group set up a photo scavenger hunt, there was a mountain bike maintenance booth, the River Rangers set up a rafting and kayaking display, and Subaru joined us with a Leave No Trace team to teach participants about outdoor ethics!
My job at this event was to make people aware of the FindYourPark centennial campaign! We set up a FindYourPark sign at the overlook and had the Junior Rangers, with the signed consent of their parents, pose next to the sign and have their pictures taken. We then used these pictures for our social media pages! It worked out brilliantly! It was also open to the public, I had several people old, young, local, foreign, and even some four legged friends get their pictures taken by the sign and ask about the campaign! I am learning everyday how important it is to get involved with the park community and be open and willing to help, even if some things don’t seem applicable to the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador position. I have taken the time to do a variety of things with many divisions of the park, doing this has given me the opportunity to take on more responsibility and made me a part of the park team rather than just being known as an SCA intern that is here for the summer! That’s right New River Gorge y’all got me for an entire year!