Written with pride by Kahmia Moise
ABOVE: Kahmia at Gateway National Recreation Area’s NYC Pride table.
Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Proud Moment #1:
I brought Gateway National Recreation Area to NYC Pride!!!
The idea first sparked in my head last year while interning in Washington, DC for National Capital Parks- East at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. It was the beginning of June, the beginning of Pride month and rainbows were everywhere including atop DC Police cars. I walked through the line of vendors, watched as the parade went by and wondered where the National Park Service was. With the May 2014 announcement of Secretary Jewell’s newest theme study, the LGBTQ Heritage Initiative, I was sure I was going to see the National Park Service in the parade, included in the festivities. I didn’t, so it became my Centennial goal.
SCA NPS Centennial Ambassador Hannah Lynn talks with visitors at NYC Pride 2015.
My supervisor, Volunteer-In-Parks Coordinator Keith White, and co-SCA intern Alicia were keen to the idea of participating in PrideFest at NYC Pride and together we made it happen. We registered; put together a display board presenting the LGBTQ Heritage Initiative; gathered brochures, event calendars, VIP sign-up sheets, and #FindYourPark materials; packed up a suitcase and were on our way. We invited National Parks of New York Harbor Youth Coordinator, Larry Calhoun along with his SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors, Hannah and Abigail.
Kahmia orders lunch for the NPS/SCA contigent at NYC Pride 2015.
We arrived at Abingdon Square 9AM sharp, set up our tent, table, and #FindYourPark banner. The weather was a bit dreary at first. It was grey, chilly, and misty, but we stood at our table with pride, ready for any and everyone who chose to stop by. Fortunately, the weather didn’t hold many people back. PrideFest started at 10AM, but folks started reaching and gathering around our table around 9:45AM.
Gateway National Recreation Area Volunteer Coordinator Keith White and SCA members Abigail Pope-Brooks and Hannah Lynn set up and ready to greet the crowds at NYC Pride 2015.
We welcomed everyone to our table.
We spoke with folks about Gateway National Recreation Area, National Parks of New York Harbor, who we were, the Volunteer-In-Parks program, the National Park Service Centennial, and #FindYourPark.
We spoke about the LGBTQ Initiative, the push for folks to “Play, Learn, Serve, and Work” at their parks, and attracting youth to become future stewards of the parks.
We spoke to over 200 people, 26 signed up to become volunteers, and many more acknowledged us from afar as they walked by.
All in all, it was a success and after a while, the sun came out to join us. We are already planning for next year to make an even bigger impression.