VIDEO: Educating Our Youth – Manzanar NHS’ Junior Ranger Program

Manzanar National Historic Site Ranger Rose Masters (left) speaks to a class from a local school who are
participating in the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program.
(click to view larger image)
Photo (screen capture): Alisa Lynch/National Park Service

Once again, the Manzanar Committee gets a reminder of why we do the work that we do…

Back on April 19, 2016, eleven days before the 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, a teacher from a local school brought her students to the Manzanar National Historic Site where they participated in the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program, in which they are taught to Explore, Learn, and Protect!, which is the motto of the program.

From the National Park Service’s web site: “The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country; each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family.”

“The NPS Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service “family” as Junior Rangers. Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of five to 13, although people of all ages can participate.”

At Manzanar National Historic Site, prospective Junior Rangers “…interact with National Park Rangers, experience exhibits, watch the 22-minute film, Remembering Manzanar, and explore the site. Participants in the program will complete an activity booklet consisting of a dozen activities including a scavenger hunt, word puzzle, word search, mapping and writing activities. These activities highlight Manzanar and Owens Valley history and introduce the peoples who lived at Manzanar.”

In the video below, we get to see a portion of the Junior Ranger program, the swearing in “ceremony,” once the prospective Junior Rangers have completed the specified activities. Ranger Rose Masters (interpretive staff) is shown here going over Manzanar’s Junior Ranger activity booklet with students.

From the perspective of the Manzanar Committee, educating people about the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II so that we can prevent such an injustice from happening again, to anyone, is what we’re all about, so seeing Ranger Rose in action as she provides that education to a class of young minds is especially rewarding for us, and it reminds us of why we worked so hard for so many years to preserve and protect Manzanar and help make it a National Historic Site, and why we continue to do so today.

Thank you to Rose, and everyone at the Manzanar National Historic Site, for the dedication, determination, and hard work!


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