The early bird gets the worm…
We at York River State Park have seen quite a few applications for summer staff positions. Being able to work outdoors, greet, and lead guest to enjoy park programs is a great way to earn money. Such jobs may even lead to professional positions in various fields.
Every applicant has some level of education and contact information of 3 references that can vouch for him (her). Often, the thing that turns a potential employee to a member of the ranger staff is for that person to bring a different and useful skill to the job.
Enthusiasm and skills are assets for a Virginia State Parks ranger
Along with my degree in Agricultural Education, I was Baptist pastor for over 10 years at the time I applied to be a Maintenance Ranger at York River in 2009. Thus, I knew how to speak to an audience and needed only some basic training on our park programs.
My brother joked about the risk I was taking fishing from my kayak. With training and certification, I could put my love for paddling to use on Taskinas Creek and the River. Without knowing I'd work here,
I picked up outdoor photography as a hobby and used the park as a base of operation. When I came in with a completed job application, the Chief Ranger, Brad Thomas, immediately recognized me as "the camera guy."
There is never a boring day on the trails
There is a tendency for some college educated candidates to avoid doing "menial" tasks. Cleaning toilets and cutting grass are not high profile jobs and certainly does not require a degree to do. But, knowing how to use cleaning supplies correctly makes the difference between a clean restroom and an irritating chemical spill area. Having well-maintained equipment is critical to a well cut lawn as well.
Every facet of the ranger team is needed to help our guest enjoy the park. So, don't try to ride a high horse too soon, as you never know who you may have to walk with.
Meet new people and learn new skills
For those who are fortunate enough to become a part of the seasonal staff and would like to become a 1500 hour or full time ranger, hang in there. Such jobs can be few and far between. You may have to be willing to relocate across the state or apply for something you had not planned on. But, keep adding to your skills base and hobbies as you never know what opportunities may open up. I created theBaystride Images Journal blog in late 2009 to try to promote my work in outdoor photography.
Our former Park Manager, Russell Johnson, saw a need to hire a 1500 hour staff person to market and promote York River on social media as well as lead programs. I was at the right place at the right time and I think I am still there.
Hikers, Paddlers, and Rangers at the Riverview Rendezvous
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.
If you are interested in becoming part of the Virginia State Parks team, you can learn more about full time, salaried, and seasonal or hourly positions here.