The time has finally come! Early tomorrow morning I depart for two weeks of training and exploration at the Grand Canyon as a part of the National Park Service’s Fundamentals Program. Designed for permanent employees just starting their careers with the NPS, the Fundamentals program–from what I’ve gathered so far–aims to orient employees to the Park Service’s history, mission, and core values. It also sounds like there will be lots of networking opportunities and time to hike the canyon itself. I have never been to the Canyon or even Arizona before, so I am thrilled about embarking on this new adventure.
Since starting full-time with the Park Service at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site back in June I’ve learned a lot about the inner workings of the agency. As I go through this training, however, I’ll be very curious to hear from other new professionals in the field about their own experiences with the NPS. Right now my network of NPS connections is almost strictly limited to my coworkers at ULSG, so I’m anxious to meet and learn from others. Maybe I’ll get a clearer idea of what career opportunities lie ahead for me with the Park Service.
I think this trip will also be a nice opportunity to be “off the grid” for a while. I’ll have a full itinerary of training and activities to participate in and limited access to a computer and internet while at the Grand Canyon. I love using digital technology as much as anyone else, but I think it’s good to occasionally step away from your usual habits and soak in new experiences without the aid of a computer screen. If I have time and access I’ll try to write a post or two and share pictures while there, but we’ll see.