As my time as the Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at Saguaro National Park comes to an end, I definitely am tasting the bittersweetness of my departure. This year has flown by and leaving is bittersweet! I will really miss working here with the people and the resources. This position has helped me grow personally and professionally and I wouldn’t have spent this past year doing anything else! I have made so many great connections and friends and I was able to experience America’s greatest idea – National Parks – during its Centennial Year.
I remember starting this position with so many questions and doubts about whether or not my goals were even possible! But going to orientation and networking with 70 other CVA’s across the country made me realize that I am not alone! It has been an honor to be the CVA for Saguaro NP and to witness all the great work that both staff and volunteers do each day.
Special thanks to my site supervisors, Andy Fisher and Richard Hill for helping me hit the ground running when I first started, along with answering all the pesky questions I had along the way. Thank you to Melanie Florez for being a great stand-in supervisor in Andy’s absence and offering awesome advice (and baked goods)! Also thank you to ALL the VIP supervisors and project leads who worked diligently on helping me create or organize volunteer events from Maintenance to Resources and making this year’s Alternative Breaks groups possible.Another big thank you to those of you (staff and volunteers) who helped me fulfill a personal goal to get art in the park with the First Annual Centennial Youth Art Show.
- 37,061 hours were donated by 420 volunteers in FY 2014
- 43,948 hours were donated by 554 volunteers in FY 2015
I will be off for a full month road-tripping with my boyfriend through the mid-west (final destination is Ohio) and then I will be working on finishing up my last semester of grad school with a Master’s in Nonprofit Admin and Public Policy. Don’t worry though, I will still be around volunteering for the park’s Resources Division with Don Swann and Dr. Kevin Bonine on the Gila Monster tracking project at Rincon Mountain District over the summer and into fall, so I will still be involved with the park! I have complete faith in my predecessors, Kelly and Rachel, to continue the work that I’ve started and I can’t wait to see what the park has in store for years to come! Thank you again for all of the help and support each one of you showed me, this experience wouldn’t have been the same without each person I came in contact with.