For better or worse, I often end up diving into life-changing decisions with no expectations of what will happen. That’s how I ended up taking a NOLS course that led to a passion for outdoor education and how I transferred to a college out west and began studying geography. The decision to join an Americorps program and work as a wilderness ranger was similar. It was something that sounded cool and would let me meet people and explore new paths. With those premises in mind, it absolutely exceeded my expectations. I’ve met some amazing people, not just through work, but suddenly, everywhere I turned, there seemed to be federal employees excited to talk about their experiences. Being a part of such a community was a really great introduction to service in public lands. I had the best crew and supervisor I could’ve hoped for, who were experienced and knowledgeable in how the Forest Service works. It’s really cool to have the chance to acquire and synthesize all of this information from so many sources. It’s possible I could’ve had the same experience as a regular seasonal employee, but I am inclined to believe that Americorps made it significantly easier. It’s certainly afforded me more flexibility in hours and cross-training than many of my crewmates. I was also amazed at how perfectly this position suited me and how lucky I was to find it in time. Skiing, mountaineering, and backpacking were a great way to spend the spring and summer.
As I wrap up my season, I’m still unsure where I’ll go next, but it’s nice to know I can keep working seasonally with the Forest Service and count on a great summer. I am also using the hiring authority to seek out government jobs related to my geography degree. The combination of the certificate and tips I’ve received from government hiring managers this season have allowed me to interview for positions I wouldn’t have heard back from before this summer. Wherever I end up, I’ve made a lot of really good connections and built some super cool relationships with people in the Forest Service.