Celebrating 20 Years of the Youth Intern Program

When I first started my job search, all I was looking for was to be close to Yosemite. This is the place I came when I was young, and it shaped me in ways I am forever thankful for. When I found my way to the Rush Creek and Evergreen Lodges, I was excited for my work in marketing because sharing my love for Yosemite was so easy.

When I first arrived, I thought I would be promoting the image of a beautiful, family-friendly vacation spot. And that was certainly the job. But then I learned about the Youth Development Program at both lodges. I wasn’t only getting people excited about visiting Yosemite, I was helping to support a mission. A mission centered around supporting and helping young adults in need.

The Youth Program is an aspect of the company I’m always proud to share. A business with a social enterprise is not something I sought out, but was something I’m thrilled to promote. The transition from city life to the woods can be complicated, but the support and community on this mountain makes it possible. I, along with every employee and intern, made a leap of faith, some of necessity and some of adventure, to see what remote Yosemite life could offer us.

What makes the Interns in the program so successful is a culmination of the efforts of every single employee. Whether that means being a mentor or a friend, a coworker or a peer, everyone here has a vested interest in supporting the experiences and success of the Interns. One administrator took an intern under their wing to give flying lessons to her. Another employee started a regular game night with several of the interns, and despite many of them being gone now, they all still stay in contact in a group message. Personally, my very best friend out here is a former intern. And I count myself eternally lucky to be her friend and to have her in my life.

As much as this program is meant to support the interns, the interns are what really bring this community together. When interns are around, other employees make a marked effort to be a good role model and to build community with one another. Without this impactful program, the lodges would not be the same. And in my opinion, the lodges would not be the success they are without the program.