Thursday, May 29, 2008

Opportunity Knocking/ Plan B

Or something like that.
Some of you may know that I'm working for the State Park system as an Ocean Lifeguard here in San Diego. During training last year, several of the Permanent Lifeguards asked me if I'd ever considered it as a career. I'd said "No" listened respectfully then explained my intentions to attend Graduate School to be a Physician's Assistant.
After a full season of working in the State Lifeguard service, those conversations with the training staff keep popping up in my head. They're a great group of people and I think I would fit in as "one of them" and can see myself hanging out at the beach for the next 20 years until I reach retirement age.
So I filled out an application and mailed it in....
The information I have is that San Diego has spots for 8 guards and currently have 4 openings. Extrapolate that to the entire State Park system and they're in dire need of good people to fill those responsibilities. Before you freak out and think I'm doing this for no reason at all, let me give you a little background.
My father grew up hiking and camping all over the country (NAVY brat) and passed on his knowledge and love of the outdoors to my brother and I. I've gone on multi-day solo backpacking trips, climbed numerous technical climbing routes in the high desert and spent more nights in a tent then most people. I LOVE camping. Thanks, Dad.
When I was very young, my family took a trip to Yosemite National Park. We spent an entire week exploring the valley and surrounding granite peaks and I still look back on that trip with fond memories. For years after that trip, I was consumed with the idea of becoming a Ranger for the National Parks. Eventually, that desire faded once I found out that only Humboldt or CPSLO offered degree programs that could lead to a job with the Forest Service. Once the State Park Ranger opportunity popped up, those memories coupled with my love of the outdoors made it too good to pass up.
The Perm. guards that I know tell me the application process takes two years. That timing is perfect if something unforeseen happens and PA school becomes impossible.
The plan:
- Finish my degree at UCSD, June 2009
- Transfer to Huntington Beach/ Orange County Division for work, Summer 2009
- Finish pre-requisites for PA school at MT SAC, Summer 2009
- Enter PA school Fall 2009
If something goes horribly awry, I should be able to start working as a Perm Guard Cadet in fairly short order: the application process can take up to 2 years.
The "Freeze, Lifeguard" part? Lifeguards and Rangers have State Peace officer status and are charged with law enforcement within the park boundaries. That means:
- Concealed Weapons Permit
- Super-cool wide-brimmed, State Trooper/Marine DI looking hat (SAWEET!)
- Cal Pers retirement/all the benefits you'd expect from a Gov'ment jobbie.
- I get to hang out at the beach or in the back country at work every day.
- All that and a paycheck too
Sounds good to me.

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