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Anyone have any thoughts on what it would be like for an 18-year-old coming alone to Yellowstone to work at laundry in Gardiner this summer? Is that too young? Should she wait until she has a year of college under her belt?

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No, I think that she should start now. College will not teach her how to deal w/people. College may teach her some skills, but not life skills. And if you read the blogs and forums its pretty easy to tell that lots of young people are going to different places alone, but coming away w/friends and hopefully future contacts. This is also a good time for her to grow a thicker skin if she doesn't already one. If she comes arcoss as snobish, someone, guests or others will knock the chip off her shoulders. If too senitive she'll learn what to dereguard. I think given a chance this may help her in college as well,such as dorm living,meals, and boys. And something even more important it looks good on resumes. Let her have fun while she's working too. Good Luck!!

at least it's a peaceful job, think about it, there are kids joining the military at that age, and we all know what that leads to.

your the perfect age now to follow your dreams,come out and you'll like it for sure.or you'll fall in love with it too.this is my 6th season in yellowstone coming up,and i understand what you're saying,my 1st season i hated it cuz i was away from family.but everything went ok can move up the ladder when you r under 21,i'm proud of ones done so,they were great,you'll be alright.

She should keep in mind that she will be worked half to death, housed in squalid conditions, fed terrible food, and paid even less than the legal minimum. As the season wears on and more and more people quit and are not replaced, she will find herself working 10-12 hour shifts, six or even seven days a week (technically illegal, but park concessionaires laugh at those rules).

The worst part is that though she would be working and living in one of the most beautiful and wondrous places on earth, she'll be able to see as much of it and as often as if she were working in, say, Cleveland for the summer. Oh, and Gardiner is still quite a ways from the park proper, and there's no public transportation into the park, so she would need a car to see the park--and gas will be $5+/gallon by then.

I would say, she should spend the summer camping in and exploring the area instead. While the world of work is often not much fun, working for a national park concessionaire is one of the worst possible introductions to it. I know that the whole theme of this site is how wonderful it is to work in a park, blah, blah, but the sad fact is that national park concessionaires exploit their workers as a result--they're supposed to be grateful that they're working in beautiful places (as if the companies owned those places) and should accept terrible pay and awful living and working conditions as a result.

I know of whence I speak here, from bitter experience. Your daughter may very well have a wonderful experience, but from my experience as well as observation of young people who worked with me, the experience is more likely to be disillusioning than wonderful. And that's a shame, in a place like Yellowstone.

Obviously, you didn't have a good experience. I have a car, live in Mammoth Hot Springs, work for Xanterra. I have hitch-hiked to gardiner, back to mammoth and plan on doing it all over the park. It would be a great experience for an 18yo. The worst thing I did in my life was go off to college at 18 and spend $20K with nothing to show for it.

if shes outgoing she would have no problems meeting friends there is alot of things she can do for fun make friends  that have cars in case there doing something that you want to do  this will help her adjust to being with other people especially with people her own age this is almost what shes going to expect while she going to college adjust to differant people way of life each people is at there  own 

if living at the bunkhouse in Gardiner each room has it's own kitchen, so ya do your own cooking/meal planning.  There's a small grocery just a short walk or drive away. I found that there was usualy pots/pans, ect. left over in the rooms from previous tenants. The RC at the bunkhouse has been there for quite a few years and keeps the peace there pretty well.

Pay no mind to what Kevin has to say. If you look thru all of his post you'll find every one of them are negative. There's one like him here on coolworks at the beginning of each season.

Second thoughts are normal to have between hiring and actual start date. I'm starting my 13th seasonal job, and I still get them. 18 is definitely not too young...well, let's change that to just because it's 18 doesn't mean that's too young...I know several 28-year-olds that have problems when they don't have their moms to take care of their every need and desire. If she stays at home, what will she do? Probably hang out with the same few kids she has since she was really a kid. At Yellowstone she will learn interpersonal skills with a variety of adult ages from all over the United States and probably a couple of other countries too.

I was going to ignore Kevin's rant...I usually do whenever I hear them in this business...always makes me think of an old Seinfeld and I start to laugh too much. But, if the trend remains the same of the past couple of summers the more likely scenario is usually less than 40-hour weeks...which you might have to think about if saving for that college is high on the priority list.



I spent last summer camping in Yellowstone and the National Forests in the surrounding areas. Most of the employees I met that worked in Yellowstone loved it. In fact, a very close personal friend of mine is working this summer for DNC in Yellowstone out of the Old Faithful location. I have had good and bad experiences, but I will not say ocmpanies for National parks don't care about their employees having fun outside work.

Your daughter will have an amazing time and have the summer adventure of a lifetime. I am heading to Alaska this summer. I posted a blog which has been featured on Cool Works, which explains the wide range of emotions I am going through as my time to head to Alaska arrives.

If you get a chance, check it out ok? "Alaskaaahhh....."! One thing your daughter will learn working in Yellowstone and anywhere else is life is to not let negative people and their negative attitudes bring her down. You will only get what you put into anything. If she goies into the situation with an open mind and focus on the positive things from working in yellowstone, she will have a great time.

It is just my opinion, but trust me, people don't work in National parks because they have to. They work in them because they choose too and love doing what they do when they work in National Parks!



Seeing as I got married when I was 17, and had my first baby when I was 18 and 1/2; I would say that if I could go back in time and do things over...I would be spending that time traveling all over the place. College & whatever society considers the "normal American dream" will still be there later.


Living with roomies in a seasonal job place isn't much different then college roomies...or in my case a house full of kids & grandkids and living next door to in-laws (in-laws are worse then the housing managers in national parks)


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