24 Jul An Official Junior Ranger
Hello Again from Philly!
You’ll be happy to know the weather has been a bit better since my last blog post. As a California girl who is used to the dry heat it sure has been a different experience. ( Why is it raining in the middle of summer?!)
So much has happened since my last post and yet it is hard to remember day-to-day events. Between visitor engagement, working on different tasks throughout the park, and helping out with Project Write summer camp, the last few weeks have been busy. Preparations for our conference in Washington D.C. are also underway, and I’m both nervous and excited about it.
As we wrap on these final weeks of our internship I wanted to share with you an update on the Junior Ranger program launch. In its first few days I collected feedback from some families that were willing to share their experiences and thoughts about the new program. After interviewing several families, reading comments that were shared with the park rangers, and hearing what the park rangers had to say it became clear that responses by visitors were mixed. There were several families and visitors that enjoyed the new program and appreciated the simplicity of the map while other families found it more challenging and missed the old format of the previous Junior Ranger program. I had many people compliment different aspects of the program and also critique or suggest ideas for improvement and additions. I also found that many families who were used to the traditional booklet format of the Junior Ranger were not big fans of the new program.
After a few days of being involved in the launch I stepped away from collecting feedback and turned towards other tasks though I always continued to promote the new program and share all about it.
I must confess that absorbing feedback post-launch was somewhat tough for me. I have not been involved with the program since its beginning but I did work with it a lot in the weeks leading up to the launch. I helped prepare activities, I placed scratch off stickers on hundreds of copies, I translated the program into Spanish, and I saw how it changed into what we have now. I love this program very much and I think it’s amazing but some people did not feel the same way. Not every program will be an amazing success upon its launch. If anything, having people critique and suggest changes allows us to consistently work on creating a product that will be enjoyed by visitors. It gives us room to change and grow and learn from what works and what doesn’t work and what can be better and how people engage with the program itself.
This project has been an iterative process, it is repetitive but each new version demonstrates qualities gained from something that was learned from previous versions. My role with the launch has contributed to the development of the newest version and the project will continue to grow even after I leave.
This is my takeaway from the project and one I hope I will think back on after I leave Independence National Historical Park.
My last week here will be a bittersweet goodbye as I have grown to love the park, the places, the stories, the work, and most of all the people here (both staff and visitors). I look forward to presenting what I have done this summer in Washington D.C and I look forward to seeing everyone’s else’s projects as well.