National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

New Year's Resolution?

Every January 1 we say and feel this -- where did the time go?? How is it possible that the past year could just seem to evaporate in a whirlwind of busy-ness and multi-tasking? I definitely have some memorable and meaningful experiences that stand out in my mind and heart from 2014 -- but most of the days and hours? I'm not sure... I think/hope I accomplished something purposeful and useful?

In December I reached the big 30 year marker for my NPS career -- those of you who are "getting up there" along with me, probably have a similar experience, finding that your thoughts more often turn to reflections on "where did the time go."  One thing I know for sure, a theme has emerged in those reflections for me -- that the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of my interpretive career has been continuous learning -- growing and evolving as an individual interpreter and trainer, along with the growth and evolution of the profession I love so much. What a privilege!

Here is another reflective observation from my 30 years -- that my dear interpretive colleagues who seem to most enjoy their work, also have a love of learning. They never rest on their laurels. They continuously challenge themselves to grow and improve in their interpretive skills, to learn more about their audiences, and they never tire of digging more deeply into the compelling -- and ever-evolving -- stories of the special places where they work. What a privilege it's been to help provide training experiences for this crowd!

Our profession of interpretation is on the move (that's not really news -- it's never really stopped evolving). The recent Training Needs Assessment of NPS interpreters, along with much evidence from across the informal learning world, confirms that interpretation -- and interpreters -- must keep up with the times of a changing society. During this time of pronounced evolution of our profession, the commitment to our own life-long learning is more important than ever.

Will you join this "old dog" in a New Year's Resolution? Will you renew your spirit of learning for 2015, more than ever before, seeking out opportunities to learn something new about your profession, your audiences, your site and yourself in the coming year?

The Interpretive Development Program Team here at Mather Training Center pledges to help you find those learning opportunities.

Happy New Year, dear colleagues!