Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Full-time volunteer program manager position approved

It's official--Mount Rainier National Park will be hiring a full-time volunteer program manager, with responsibilities for managing the day-to-day operation of our program and building and maintaining partnerships that support it.

But, you aask, don't we already have that? Well, yes and no. Back in B.C.--that is, Before Catastrophe, the great floods of November 2006--our volunteer program was managed as a "collateral duty" (about 30% of the job description) by a GS-9 park ranger interpreter (yours truly). That was just about enough capacity to keep the program running, but not enough to significantly grow the program.

After the floods, Mount Rainier received literally hundreds of calls, letters, and e-mails from people eager to help out. It quickly became clear that the job needed more than 30% of a single position, and that, furthermore, opportunities existed for building partnerships that would benefit the volunteer program for years to come. The volunteer program manager position was promoted, temporarily, to full-time GS-11.

Over the past year and a half, our volunteer program has surged in participation and effectiveness. The vast majority of that success is due to you, the 1,724 people who volunteered last year and the so-far uncounted numbers who've participated again this year, including hundreds of people who've volunteered for the first time, becoming partners with us in the stewardship of this magnificent park. But there's no doubt that having a full-time volunteer manager capable of building and maintaining those partnerships, with the Student Conservation Association, Washington Trails Association, National Parks Conservation Association, and others, has helped.

As of today, Mount Rainier National Park has committed to keeping the position of full-time, GS-11 volunteer program manager. This is an investment in the park's future, and an affirmation of the growing role that volunteers play in the stewardship of Mount Rainier. I'm personally very excited by this commitment, and look forward to our program continuing to take a leadership role in the National Park Service!

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