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Ranger Academy Graduates 51 Park Staff

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, we celebrated the graduation of 51 park staff who participated in Park Ranger Academy – a robust, 8-week program that covers programs, policies and best practices for park and recreation professionals. Participants represented parks across San Diego County.

Graduates were given the tools they needed to excel in their positions, and to share knowledge and best practices with their respective park teams.   

District Manager Jessica Cissel coordinated the program: “Through this academy, we are able to fine-tune the already-stellar leadership and customer service abilities of our park staff. Rangers leave with a greater understanding of our mission, vision and what they can do to take their park and its programming to the next level.”

Graduates attended 7-hour sessions once a week for eight weeks. The following topics were covered:

  • Operations Basics
  • Park Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures
  • Administration, Finance, HR and the DPR History Center
  • Park Safety
  • Park Maintenance
  • Resource Management and Trails
  • National Trends, Innovation and Best Practices
  • Interpretive Programs
  • Career Development

The job classification of park ranger dates back to 1961, when the roles of Warden 1 and 2 were renamed to better reflect the day-to-day responsibilities and expectations of employees who were , quite literally, the face of open space. Rangers were expected to “look sharp and be sharp” at all times, and to create opportunities through which the public could enjoy memorable park experiences.

Today the roles have expanded even further, with more parks and a larger team of nearly 70 full-time and supervising park rangers who share the upside of outside with residents and visitors alike.  

During his presentation at the ceremony, County Parks Director Brian Albright said, “You bring credibility and respect to both our profession and our department.  You are on the front lines, every day, representing parks and what we stand for. Thank you for your continued investment in County Parks.”

Cissel added, “This Department has always valued a culture of customer service, stewardship, integrity, professional appearance, accountability and respect. These are the qualities that your supervisors saw in you when you were hired as rangers.”

Ranger Academy is only open to park rangers in the County’s Parks and Recreation Department. The program is held every few years and candidates must apply with managerial approval.

Congratulations to the class of 2016! 

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