Today was my first day of training and I am having a hard believing that this is actually my job. Throughout the day, I saw a couple of foxes wandering around the property, learned how to use a baby Zamboni, and went roller-skating. Tomorrow I will meet the dog sledding team, learn archery and go rock climbing. Thursday we get to go on a four-hour snowshoeing hike to a nearby waterfall. I met all the other new hires in my department and we bonded after spending the whole day together. We have already planned snowboarding trips to the nearby ski resort, trips to explore the nearby towns, movie and game nights, and many group activities around the ranch.
During my training I also talked to my department manager about whether I needed to wait until the end of my contract in April to sign up for an additional four months in the spring/summer. It turns out the four month contract is a formality simply to ensure that people like the job and are a good fit for it, but the answer was no, I don’t have to wait. I didn’t hesitate to get my name in and am now signed up to be a part of the same department, but under the title of Outdoor Educator from April 1st – August 1st. In that time, I will be working with the day camps and summer-long camp to teach youth outdoor activities and survival skills. So I will be staying for a full 8 months with one week off in May to visit friends and family and swap out my winter wardrobe for a summer one.
I met a new hire from a different department on Monday who is here for a month to teach cross-country skiing in our Nordic center. She is here on break from her full time job at Yosemite and has offered to let me use her as a reference when they do their hiring in August. If all goes well, I will be able to leave Snow Mountain Ranch and go straight to work in a national park, which has always been a dream of mine. Is this real life?