I officially lead/taught my first group of kids in the program that I am now an employee of. Basically, the kids come for three or four days and rangers take them around the park and teach them stuff...i.e. "Yellowstone is super cool because of (insert unique aspect of Yellowstone's ecosystem) so you should work to protect it and other places like it. I was skeptical at first that the kids would assimilate this attitude, but I've been very surprised at how large an impact both the program and Yellowstone have on them. Usually, the most wild/misbehaved kid ends up loving the park. Last week, one of them declared that he would rather be in Yellowstone than at home playing video games! Chalk one up for the home team. The kids aren't the only ones having fun. I've come to realize that I am having a really good time with the kids. Some of the reasons...
1. Kids always want to give hugs.
2. You never know what they are going to say or do.
3. The younger kids are really eager to participate - none of that "I'm too cool for school" b.s.
4. I get to wear my ranger hat.
5. Two nights a week I get to stay in the Lamar Valley. The Lamar Valley has been the wallpaper on my computer for 4 years because there's nothing else I'd rather put there.
6. The kids have to cook for the rangers (fortunately I like hot dogs and nachos).
7. Kids laugh at all my stupid jokes.