Today, I live a just north of the Tetons in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, working each day to protect the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park from industrial gold mining. My summers in Grand Teton instilled in me a great reverence for all it takes to create and maintain these public lands we cherish.
By taking on this entirely new role as the HR Manager, I soon found my place in life. I enjoyed making meaningful connections with my employees, and treasured the fact that the job allowed me to make a lasting impact on their lives.
While I was a university student, I discovered the work and travel program with the USA.
I applied for an International Student VISA to go to the USA for a working holiday. The goal is to help us improve our English, have a cultural experience, and allow us to see the United States through traveling the country after our seasonal commitment ends.
When strangers ask me how I came to work in Death Valley, I lie.
I’m not ashamed of the truth; I just know that it’s not what a family of bright-eyed tourists wants to hear over breakfast. Like a lot of parkies, my pilgrimage to the middle of nowhere wasn’t inspired by memories of a particularly pleasant family camping trip or a dog-eared copy of an Edward Abbey book. Here’s what really happened…
Since my journey began, I’ve watched the sun rise and set in some of the world’s most beautiful places. Every morning, I look out my window and see some of the most amazing mountains on the planet. I sometimes think about what my life might be like had I never found CoolWorks.com, and I’m thankful that’s something that I only wonder about.
The second I got home, I went online and played my own version of CoolWorks adventure roulette. Did I want a job in the national parks? Or maybe specifically a gig on the water? Did I want something in hospitality and service industry? Or did I want to return to my non-profit roots? If I hit the international job filter, things got REALLY exciting.
Since that first season I have learned to ride horses working at a dude ranch in the Sonoran desert, learned to ski at a couple of resorts, sharpened my golf game in Vermont, salmon fished the Kenai River and Resurrection Bay, explored historic Mackinac Island, lived a couple hundred feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon, and enjoyed expansive Denali.
I moved around a lot when I was a young single woman, which is where my love for road trips and new places was born. When my last chickie left the nest I remembered my dream of living the gypsy life, but with no savings I had no idea how I’d manage. I typed “National Park Jobs” on an internet search and found CoolWorks.com – Jackpot!
I was the first person to get a job from CoolWorks, and It definitely changed my life. A seasonal job blew my doors, my eyes, and my horizons wide open in the summer of ’72. That summer I found my home in Yellowstone as well as my belief in the life changing power of a seasonal job. I got the first inkling for what would become CoolWorks in January of 1995.