Tayler’s Final Reflection

Ten weeks have flown by. So, so, so quickly. This week is the last week and I know I am not ready to leave this fantastic program. The past ten weeks have not only been about learning about so many things, but learning about the people in the program.

I want to give a huge thank you to Amanda Hsu, Megan Young and Shannon Urabe. Those three have been so supportive, kind, friendly, and amazing to be around. They have made sure, that me as a Deaf person, have full access to the program. Not only interpreters and learning sign language, but also making sure I am included. I was truly nervous about joining this program because I have had bad experiences with workplaces that aren’t as accommodating to the Deaf community. This program showed otherwise. This program is so welcoming and so open. That is one of the things that I love most about the program.

A great memorable experience that I have had in this program is probably the very first day I came. Why? It was because everyone took their time to introduce themselves by spelling their name in the alphabet in ASL (American Sign Language). I immediately knew that this was going to be a wonderful ten weeks. They took the time to learn a little bit of my language on their own and that truly meant a lot. When people take the time to learn about my culture without me even having to ask…that lets me know that I’m going to be such great friends with them. No, they become family. That was so beneficial because I learned that the people who take their time to engage with me as a Deaf person and actually treat me normally, and want to learn about my culture..are so worth being friends with.

Another great memorable experience is when we all were doing Outdoors 101 because everyone got to show their talents and/or skills being in the outdoors. Everyone got really engaged into this week and explained their experiences with the outdoors. That was really cool to see because this generation is really focused on technology, and I was really glad to see other teenagers like myself, caring about the outdoors and knowing how to care for themselves in the outdoors. This was beneficial because now I have learned more survival skills for the outdoors and how to take care of yourself while taking care of the environment at the same time.

One thing that I wish was different about the program is that I wish we had more outings. I loved going on the LGBTQIA tour around Seattle, I loved the Seattle Art Museum, the campsite area where we learned to set up tents, the waterfall garden, and so much more. I wish we got to learn more about Seattle as we walked around to our outings because there are so many things that I do not know about  Seattle and it’s history. I think it would be good because people need to be out and about more rather than sitting in a building all day. People need to appreciate the history of where they go because history is how it all started. Everything has a story, and it needs to be told.

Another thing that I wish was different was that I wish we had a bit more practice with resumes or actually making one, or getting help on LinkedIn because at home, sometimes people don’t get all the help they need, and so this program would be helpful with all the staff that could advise us into actually creating the resume. It would be very beneficial because we could enter the school year with prepared resumes. The school year can be very stressful, and by having a completed resume, we could just focus on applying for jobs.

I would for sure like to be a part of the “In My Backyard” program in the future because I want to make a change. This program is so focused on making change, and I want to help that change actually happen. This program does not only focus on bettering the environment, but also other things that need a big change. That is why I would love to be a part of the program in the future. I could contribute in the future by volunteering with this program, I could be involved with training to become a mentor, I could recruit more Deaf people to be involved (because of how Deaf-friendly this program is!), I could do fundraisers to help donate money to the program and so on.

Overall, the past ten weeks have been so worthwhile and so beneficial to my life. Thank you to all the people who have been so supportive. I have grown so much and learned so much from this program and I highly recommend taking part in this program. This program may only be ten weeks, but the time flies by. I made lots of memories here, and I wish future interns the best of luck!

BY TAYLER – NATIONAL PARK SERVICE INTERN

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