My oldest son has decided he wants to be a park ranger.
This makes a lot of sense. He loves to be outside, he likes enforcing rules, he loves to interact with people, and he has completed the Junior Ranger program for each of the 40 states parks in North Carolina.
One of the requirements for being a “Junior Ranger” at an NC State Park is that he has to interview a park ranger at each park. This means he has talked to a lot of park rangers. He asks questions like, “How did you get to be a park ranger?” and “What is your favorite thing about being a park ranger?” I think his favorite question to ask is, “What’s the strangest thing you have seen at this park?” Interestingly, two different rangers at two different parks described encounters they have had with emus. In case you don’t know, an emu is a large flightless bird, approximately the size of an ostrich, that lives in Australia, which happens to be a very long way away from North Carolina.
My son has been a camp counselor for an outdoor education camp for the past two years, which is also excellent preparation for his future ranger duties. He loves working with the younger kids, leading activities, and teaching them about animal tracks, or outdoor survival skills, or whatever the daily topic may be.
As the official school administrator, part of my job is to help facilitate my kids’ interests. If he wants to be a park ranger, we’ll do what we can to help make that happen, and to give him the opportunity to shine where he wants to shine.
Taking the junior ranger oath with a real park ranger.