We Cannot Control the Wind, But We Can Direct the Sail

This week at SF Maritime was the last week of the kayaking program for the summer, but some of the groups got to do more than going out on the water. A few groups couldn’t go out because of the windy conditions at Aquatic Park so they got tours of the Visitor Center and the Hyde Street Pier where SF Maritime’s historic ships are docked and where the small boat shop I’ve been working at is also located. One of the groups had asked in advance that we also show them a presentation on the various career paths available in the National Park Service. SF Maritime also has another Intern — Sequoia — working here who’s with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative, which is much like LHIP, they are about increasing diversity hiring and visitation within the NPS but for African-Americans. So Sequoia and I came up with a slideshow presentation where we not only covered some of the many career paths available in the NPS but also got to talk about ourselves, our journeys and what does it mean for us to be working with the NPS. I felt that this part of the presentation was the most important. When I was a student in High School and later in the Conservation Corps I would just go on these random trips and learn about places and people and that there was a whole world out there to explore. I think that these options, although there, are not always evident or present for low-income Black and Brown folks who come from the same types of neighborhoods where I came from. I feel that when I do these types of talks and presentations (I’ve done a few) these are the kids who I hope I cant get through to. But when I speak I feel like I’m walking a fine line, I try to be like, “If I can do all these things, so can you” but not in a way that makes me some kind of token “model minority” that negates the hardships of others, but in a way that acknowledges the struggles and everything and everyone that went into getting me to this point in my life. What made the presentation extra special to me was that the group was also from Oakland.

NPS Career Paths Presentation

NPS Career Paths Presentation

This week, we also met with some of the people who are planning this big Packing in the Parks event where 50 people will be hiking to SF from Stinson Beach up north in Marin County and will be met by 50 other people hiking to SF from the south all in celebration of the NPS Centennial Celebration! I will be hiking and camping with the North group for three days at the end of July so we were just meeting to go over some basics about the trip. Should be an amazing trip and I’m pretty grateful for being able to see more of California wilderness before I head to the concrete metropolis of Chicago for grad school in the fall. Next week things will be a little different, no more kayaking L, but will be making trips to Point Reyes National Seashore, Alcatraz Island, and Rosie The Riveter/ WWII Home Front National Historical Park so it should be just as exciting!   And no swimming required… hopefully

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