28 May 2021

I'm Happy

Written by: Loni Cantu

My Resource Assistant (RA) experience has been one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve done so far. My first few weeks at the Washington Office felt a little like being thrown into the deep end of a pool with no swim training. Sink or swim. Luckily my coaches were in the pool with me. My supervisors have done an amazing job of teaching me about the Recreation Special Uses world. I’m informed and involved in all of our work, and attend every meeting they attend. I’ve learned about my work quickly through reading past briefing papers and directives, asking plenty of questions, and chatting with past RAs from the Special Uses world.  

I’m especially grateful to how much trust and responsibility my supervisors have given me early on.  I'm learning the work through doing the work, and I am extremely proud of how much I’ve been able to contribute already.  I’ve shared my thoughts during meetings. I’ve reported our work to the Assistant Director - which is speaking to my boss’s boss!  I’ve helped write briefing papers on solutions to the impacts of wildfires and Climate on Forest Service recreation sites!  I help write official correspondence to our stakeholders. I helped write testimony related to Environmental Justice and Recreation Bills, that will be shared before the House Natural Resources Sub-Committee. This will air at CSPAN June 8th at 1 pm!  I’m contributing to policy that has an impact on National Forests across the US.  This is the first time I’ve felt that my work matters and can make a real difference in the world.    

All this to say is I am really really happy. Thriving in fact. It is a nice respite from the jobless languishing I felt last year.  And I know it’s only been 5 weeks, and I’m probably still in the honeymoon phase. But I want to hold on to this feeling for as long as I can.  

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: USFS Headquarters, Washington Office

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