Managing the Ranch After Two and a Half Weeks
Summary: Taking responsibility is the biggest opportunity that appears during further weeks of my internship in Tourism Management at the ranch and after my second week, I got the opportunity to take care of the office by myself and organize the ranch while most of the other community partners were gone for a couple of days.
The challenges and successes are ongoing in my third week at Chilcotin Holidays during my internship in Tourism Management. Besides the office work, I volunteered to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner for 18 people, together with another community partner. Although I have enough experience in the kitchen from home, it was indeed a challenge to prepare a huge turkey with all the side dishes for a holiday we do not have at home. It took us the whole day to get everything ready for dinner while checking the turkey every 30 minutes and baking my first pumpkin pie. We had supper all together and really enjoyed the food, so I was happy that the hours in the kitchen paid off. I was even more surprised that we could please everyone with their favourite food for Thanksgiving while cooking it for the first time. Spending time as a team and together with the guests is really nice after a long day of work and it is exciting to listen to what everybody was up to the whole day. Besides the Thanksgiving dinner, we try to have a Wild Harvest dinner once a week where I first tried the meat of bear, cougar, mountain goat and moose. Eating together supports the community feeling and to get to know each other better, especially when you are new to the ranch.
A couple of days later, most of our community partners were at a workshop in 100 Mile House or in camp on one of the last trips of the season. I stayed at the ranch with 4 other community partners and guests. Usually there are a lot of people on the ranch, so it was nice to have a few quiet days. But that also meant that we have to run the ranch, especially me with the office, by ourselves and keep everybody updated. Due to the fact that our camps are spread out across the South Chilcotin Mountains, it is important to stay in contact with everyone who is out to camp, to know if they are ok. I could show my organizational and leadership skills and keep an eye on the stuff that needs to be done by other community partners while answering applications, inquiries or phone calls. It definitely was a challenge for me to have that responsibility because I had to have an overview of where everybody is staying and when they are coming back, although I didn’t really have a detailed knowledge of everything concerning the ranch and its territory.
We worked together as a team and helped each other to get the work done which feels great at the end of the day – following the quote of David Salyers’ book “Remarkable”: “It’s a place where people believe the best in each other, so they want the best for each other, and they expect the best from each other.” That quote is printed out and placed at every desk in our office to remind you of Chilcotin Holidays’ belief system.
At first, I thought it is a tough task to run the office alone since I was only at the ranch for two and a half weeks and for sure did not know everything, but it was good to know that everyone believed in me like the quote says. I tried my best to answer all the E-mails, called my community partner in town when an urgent request popped up and had help from other community partners to manage it all with the result that my work got appreciated when everyone was back at the ranch. I guess recognition is important in the beginning and it is nice to know that your effort pays off after busy days. While spending most of the time in the office, it is a good variety to take care of the horses and roll out hay for them, help in the kitchen to get dinner ready or clean the chicken house.
These experiences during my journey at Chilcotin Holidays show me how leadership is done correctly, by being a role model and most importantly to teach others and share your knowledge. I am glad that the ranch offers many opportunities to experience leadership skills, that means encouraging learning, but also accepting mistakes and struggles. It is up to you how much you want to experience during your journey at the ranch, because the ranch facilitates and inspires you to take initiative – you can lead a horse to water, but not make it drink.
Marilen, 22, Germany