I have gained many invaluable skills during my time with my MANO Project internship with the National Park Service. I built a database to encompass scientific literature on resource interpretation from the floor up, with guidance from Chris Elbich.We first developed a course of action to best approach creating a database. I then found scientific literature on resource interpretation, searched and compiled all relevant sources, refined what sources applied to our objective, and tagged sources for easy searchability. This entire set of skills that I have built on and gained will become a catalyst in my Therapeutic Recreation career. I plan on recreating this process and applying it to Therapeutic Recreation relevant scientific literature and best practices to serve future clients and agencies.
Yet, I think the most profound element that I gained during this experience, are not applicable skills but reconnecting with my care. I have always been a deeply caring person, as my disposition is sensitive. However, somewhere along the line, I feel like I stopped showing I care. The world took its toll on my heart, and I hid my care. In a western American society that socializes a person into compartmentalizing emotions and hiding sensitivity, essentially praising toxic masculinity, it isn't hard to lose touch with one’s care.
It was actually my first blog post, Inspiration or Interpretation, for the MANO Project that inspired me to self inquire why I hid parts of my caring nature. Why was I waiting for someone to care first? For someone to show they care so that I could spark off their inspiration? When all along I could be the inspiration. Just as the quote from Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax says, “nothing’s going to change, it’s not, unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot.” I need to remind myself that it's okay if I am the one to care first and express my care, that I don't need to wait on others to take action, that I can be the one who cares a whole awful lot and hopefully inspire others to reconnect with their care and take action. And so for this I am truly thankful to the MANO Project and Harpers’s Ferry Center National Park.
Agency: National Park Service
Program: Harpers Ferry Center Program
Location: Harpers Ferry Center for Media Services