When you are working, it is important that you like your coworkers. Here at Scotty’s Castle, Tom and I get to work with a great group of people: National Park Service Rangers. The Rangers are an interesting and diverse group of people. They fall into three categories.
First, the largest group is the young seasonal rangers. They are in their 20’s and 30’s and are hoping to be hired as full-time rangers. But it is very hard to be hired by the National Park Service full-time, so they are working as seasonal rangers for six month stints at various parks. They apply for every full-time position for which they are qualified. Many of them have been working full-time for the National Park Service for years, but government jobs are the same as everyplace else these days: fewer full-time employees and more part-time. So they work hard, get good reviews, and hope that a position will open up and they will get hired full-time. Some of them have been seasonal for more than ten years. Being a full-time National Park Service Ranger is their dream job and they are not willing to give up on their dream.
The second group of rangers is those that retired from something else and decided to take advantage of the part-time ranger positions to do something interesting. This is the smallest group. We work with three rangers who are retired from other work. One was a banker, one was an engineer, and one was a state park ranger. Now they are seasonal park rangers. They might work at Death Valley every year for six months, or they might change parks twice a year. They apply for the jobs that seem most interesting to them and will keep doing it as long as it is fun.
The third group is the rangers who are full-time. Most of them have some area of specialty or expertise that allowed them to get hired. Several of them are trained EMTs in addition to other specialties. They are living their dreams by serving as National Park Service Rangers.
All of the Park Rangers are dedicated to doing the very best job they can. Tom and I have been impressed by how seriously they take their jobs. They may give four tours a day and have other collateral duties, but they do each tour with commitment to the enjoyment and education of the visitor. They are cheerful and friendly in the Visitor Center. They are interested in the people who visit and want to make sure they have the best visit possible.
Tom and I are the only volunteers at Scotty’s Castle, but we feel privileged to work with these folks. Their dedication makes us determined to lead tours, interact with visitors, and do any other tasks as cheerfully and thoroughly as possible. The rangers we work with have welcomed us and make us feel like we are a valuable part of the team. We are proud to be Volunteer Park Rangers!