12 December 2020

Enhancing My Professional Development Skills through a CIG Training

Written by: Sydnee Martin

It’s crazy to think how my fellowship feels as though it just started but is now nearly halfway through the program. The time I’ve spent has been slow and steady, but at the same time has also been rewarding.


While I’m waiting to hear the results of whether or not I passed the course or not, I recently completed a week and a half long NAI Certified Interpretive Guide Training. The training consisted of a workshop where we learned the essence of what it means to be a good interpreter for your audience and guest--a training dedicated to advancing your skills in visual and oral communication as a guide in various interpretation settings. Due to current circumstances, this was the first time the training was virtual. Whether you are interested in working at a park, museum, cultural sites, and more, this interpretation program offers you an experience to learn how to inform your audience in an appealing way.

I joined the training for professional development and a way to network. Despite knowing that there would be a presentation, something I’m highly afraid of, and even debated dropping the training at the last point, I still pushed through with the training because I knew it would be a great experience.

We were taught by Interpretive trainers through various presentations, examples, and workbook exercises with other trainees, and overall it was a worthwhile experience that taught me to be better equipped in the field of interpretation, but on a much deeper level than what I thought the general tourism world consisted of.

For my topic, I chose to briefly discuss the importance of historical artifacts and their importance to learning more about Indigenous communities and the lands they have and continue to live on. The presentation allowed me to learn more on a topic I was interested in even for a brief 10-minute presentation.

At the end of our training, I found a deeper understanding of what I would like to do in the future in regards to the world of travel and tourism while also educating myself and others about topics not often discussed. I believe that traveling and exploring the world and cultures around us are key to learning about others as well as having a more open-mind to others. However, doing so in a manner that is respectful to the communities living in the area is just as important, if not more.

So next time you visit public lands or travel to a different location, think of the ways you can also educate yourself about those who have resided there longer than many and how you can support them in a manner that is considerate and respectful to who they are as people. And if you get the chance to do a training to advance your professional development skills or communication skills, however intimidating, try to experience what the opportunity has to offer, because you never know what rewards can arise from such an experience.

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Coronado National Forest

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