A Most Decorated Crew
Jan 10, 2017
I would like to make the claim that the crew aboard the Safari Endeavour is the most decorated crew in the fleet.
Earlier this summer, a substitute deckhand joined us in Alaska. This deckhand spent only two weeks with us but left quite an imprint on our crew.
The deckhand arrived at the Safari Endeavour in Juneau with a smile as well as something very special; a Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger badge.
This shiny bit of gold colored plastic slowly caused a stir that would forever change the crew of the Safari Endeavour.
This deckhand wore their Junior Ranger badge proudly for the two weeks they remained on-board with us. This deckhand would field questions all the time from guests about the shiny pin on their jacket. It seemed to cause some strife among the other undecorated deckhands.
Instead of the deck department falling to bits mid-season, on the next Glacier Bay day, two of the Safari Endeavour deckhands approached the ranger to inquire about the badges. They learned that in order to receive a Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger Badge, they would have to meet a series of qualifications.
These included completing a 20-page Glacier Bay Junior Ranger Adventure guide book, participating in one ranger-led activity and going on at least two adventures in Glacier Bay National Park. Now, because this program is designed for all ages, there are many levels and choices for each of these qualifications.
Completing the guide book has four different levels, ranging from Bear Cub Level (completing five activities) to Junior Ranger All-Star (completing all 15 activities). The two adventures can be things like taking a walk, spending 10 quiet minutes outside, visiting the tribal house, observing something with binoculars, or traveling by boat. All in all, the Junior Ranger Program is widely accessible to all ages. And boy did the crew of the Safari Endeavour take advantage of that.
So our two undecorated deckhands got their hands on these Junior Ranger Guide books and some colored pencils, and then set up camp at a table in the dining room. They spent a few hours during their free time completing the books before the ranger had to depart at the end of the day. By late afternoon they were done and presented the completed adventure guides to the ranger.
The ranger looked over the books, deemed them worthy and in a ceremony during their closing speech swore in and awarded each deckhand a Glacier Bay National Junior Ranger badge. They have each pinned their badge onto their company-issued black soft shell jacket and sport them with great pride.
Our crew also discovered another National Park issued badge called the Underwater Explorer. This badge is awarded upon completion of the National Park Underwater Explorer book or accidentally falling off the fantail into the water (we have had at least one crew receive it this way).
These two Safari Endeavour deckhands were just the beginning. Each subsequent week, crew got their hands on guide books, completed them and ceremoniously received badges. Our current total of decorated crew as Glacier Bay National Park Junior Rangers and/or National Park Service Underwater Explorers is 16! That’s almost half our crew.
Needless to say, we’re a pretty decorated bunch.