Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Keeping a keen edge

Last fall I became one of Antietam's official private guides working through the Western Maryland Interpretive Association (click for link).

I've been enjoying it very much, giving a private tour about every other week. It's been a great way to stay in interpretive shape during the off (no Ranger-led tours) season and it provides another (small) income source in my patchwork career - and every little bit helps.

I went through the examination process two years ago shortly after becoming a Volunteer at Antietam. After passing the test I was then waiting around for one of two events to occur. One would be the sample tour with Ted Alexander and other guides, the other was becoming a seasonal Ranger at the park. Guess which one came first! Upon putting on the Ranger Stetson I no longer felt such a pressing need to be a civilian guide.

One of the really cool things about giving these tours is meeting people from all over (like these two gentlemen from Boston) many of whom have very focused and specialized areas of interest that we can explore together.

As I completed my first Rangering year I then went into the regular seasonal rotation, meaning the long winter and spring of only working Sundays with no opportunities to give the battlefield tour. Suddenly the tour guide idea began to have a lot of appeal again.

So I took the plunge. It has been a very gratifying and enjoyable experience. I've been able to hone my interpretive skills all the while staying active at this wonderful battlefield.

Giving the two-hour Ranger led tour is still my favorite, and they'll be starting up again any day at the park.
But these private gigs have been a great way to stay connected.

Things are always getting better,

Just north of Sharpsburg,


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