I have finished my first week working as a Park Ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Cape Cod Canal. The Corps employs many civilians at sites across the nation, of which I am one.
As a new (first-year) seasonal employee at the Canal, I will be spending my first few weeks in training. Most of that training takes place at the office. I have also spent two days at the Visitor Center, which is in a different location. A lot of the training consists of boring agency-wide computerized "courses" that have absolutely nothing to do with the job.
Yesterday we had our first big event, Water and Boating Safety Day. The Canal has a remote-controlled mascot called "Seemoor the Water Safety Sea Serpent." He is this purple character with a decidedly porcine face who drives around in a little boat on wheels. For most of the day I was his "companion" as he interacted with children who came to the event. He was controlled by a returning seasonal named Andy, who was hampered by the fact that the earpiece on his headphones didn't work, meaning that he couldn't hear anything that the kids and I said to Seemoor. Later on, Seemoor's voice changer started giving us a lot of feedback, so from that point on he was mute as well as deaf. (Andy, of course, had to stay out of sight, which meant that he couldn't always see Seemoor, a fact that caused the fiesty serpent to crash into my legs twice. It didn't really hurt and, besides, it was better to have Seemoor slam into my shins than to have him take out little kids.) No matter; the kids loved him anyway! At one point, two sisters and a brother (all of them under the age of 6) who had met Seemoor at the event last year brought him a picture as a gift. It was a page torn from a "Hello Kitty" coloring book, and they presented it to Seemoor with considerable ceremony. It was the cutest thing.
As I finish with training in a few weeks and learn more about the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) at the Visitor Center, I will get to start doing what I came here for: creating and presenting Interpretive programs. My boss, Sam, has already told me that I'm probably going to be doing beach walks, among other things. I think this job is going to be fun, and it will definitely help me learn skills for my future career.