It is amazing to me how my internship flew by! It’s been an awesome summer getting to know the park and being able to participate in some of the events at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (LEWI). It doesn’t seem like too long ago I was just a shy intern coming from California to Oregon. Now, I am in the last couple weeks of my internship  getting ready to head out to the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) Conference in Denver, Colorado. I remember this from last year, and it was great getting to meet different interns from all across the country who have done some great work throughout the summer. For the most part, I enjoyed it and wondered how this year would differ from last year.

One of the main things that I looked forward to about the conference in Denver was a local band from L.A (who I have seen before in shows) which just so happened to be playing at a bar near the hotel I was staying at! What are the odds! As I was packing, I just couldn’t stop thinking about going to see them. It helped take my mind off traveling to Portland for my flight on my own. I was worrying about waking up really early to drive into Portland, leaving in my car at the airport, the traffic, etc. I was just nervous about having to do everything on my own that way. Last year, I was already back in California, so my parents could have taken me, but this year I had to be an adult!

The flight was great and I made it just in time to the hotel where we were going to meet the other interns. The first person I met at the hotel was my roommate, and she was the best roommate ever! Later on I got to meet other interns at the start of our conference and everyone at the table got along very well. I was happy to see that pretty much everyone was super social and connecting with everyone else. It was nice to have that connection; it was something I had been missing since I have been in Oregon. As the meeting went on we were welcomed by the LHIP team who put everything together and with whom we were in contact the whole summer. We also had a guest speaker who told us about her profession and how she has come to work with different Latino organizations ,and she told us about what it’s like to work with the presidential administration. After we had a chance to eat some amazing food, it was up to the interns what they wanted to do. Some people went  different ways, but my heart was set on going to see the band as I felt like I needed a little taste of home. I talked with a couple people and listened to their plans, exchanged information, and I ended up going with one of the intern who I sat with. He was super awesome, too, and it was the best night ever being able to see the band. Unforgettable. I just wish I had gotten over my shyness and reached out to other interns to see if they were interested.

After that, we spent the next day at the National Park Service headquarters where we spent most our time listening and interacting with interns about their time at the sites. People did a great job at their sites with a variety of different projects they completed over the summer. Later on, we had a great workshop that focused on applying to federal jobs and resume building. All the interns grouped together and gave each other constructive feedback. After we were all set and ready, each of us went through mock interviews by different people. It was a little nerve-wrecking, but all in all it was good practice and my interviewer was super nice and gave me great feedback as well as some nice compliments on my interviewing skills.

For the remainder of the time we stayed in the Rocky Mountains in a cabin, and had the best time visiting the the Visitor Center and looking at the amazing views of the mountains. They were unbelievable! I am so glad I had the chance to do a small hike, even though the high elevation made it more challenging than what it should have been. I was able to take some great pictures of the mountains in the Rocky Mountains National Park and I even had the chance to have lunch at the same time. I have never seen so many elk and pikas all at once! While we were there, we got a VIP tour of the greenhouse, Visitor Center offices, and got a chance to talk to the search and rescue team. At the greenhouse, resource rangers talked to us about what they do at the greenhouse and how they plant native plant species. They also let us transfer some grown plants into bigger pots. I got to bond with some many people through the tour. and it was a shame that the week had to come to an end.

I am so grateful to have gone to this conference and to have met the other LHIP interns. I was feeling burnt out and homesick, but after the conference I came back to my site feeling refreshed. I have found this new energy that has inspired me to continue my internship, and I can’t wait for what awaits me.

 

Encuentra Tu Parque,

Edith J.

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Written by Edith Jimenez
A Chicanx from Los Ángeles exploring America's Best Idea through these brown eyes!