Interpretive Intern

Website Jewel Cave National Monument

Start Date: May 15th, 2023

End Date: August 4th, 2023

Compensation: $640 a week paid every two weeks. Travel costs to the site and back home are covered by the program. 

Personal vehicle is highly recommended

Application Due: February 6th, 2023

The Latino Heritage Internship Program seeks to engage ethnically and racially diverse young professionals in natural resource careers.

All interns must be fully vaccinated for covid-19 prior to the start of their internship.

Please Apply HERE

Project Description:

Jewel Cave receives the majority of its visitation in the summer months of June and July. This position would assist with those busier times, help make the park more accessible for diverse audiences, and ultimately plan our Jr. Caver Day.

60% of the time, this individual would assist with regular interpretation duties of working the front desk and leading cave tours. The front desk can be a busy place and it is important to have staff there to welcome visitors to the park and answer their questions. We do receive Spanish-speaking visitors and it would be an asset to the park to have another individual in the staff who is also Spanish-speaking to help answer Spanish speakers’ questions at the front desk. A high volume of questions are regarding cave tours. During fiscal year 2022 we had over 55,000 visitors that went on cave tours, with many more that we had to turn away. Having another staff member allows us to welcome more visitors to the cave. The individual hired for this position will help lead Discovery Tours, which consists of a 20-minute presentation in the cave that is accessible, and the popular Scenic Tour, an hour and 20-minute cave tour on a half-mile loop. 

The remaining 40% of this position would consist of doing outreach and event planning. We need to update the information we hand out to Spanish-speaking visitors as the information on there is outdated and not very helpful, and another component of this position would be to update those materials. The individual hired will then spend some time doing outreach in nearby cities that have more Spanish-speaking populations, such as Gillete, Wyoming, dispersing these materials to attract new audiences to Jewel Cave. They will also be encouraged to do outreach monthly in our nearest town of Custer, and table at events throughout the summer, including Find Your Park Day in Rapid City in June and Gold Discovery Days in Custer in July. There are many opportunities to promote Jewel Cave at nearby events and gain new audiences, but we don’t always have the staffing to join every event. The final project of this internship will be to use the skills the intern has gained from doing interpretive programs and outreach to plan a one-day event, Jr. Caver Day. We held this event for the first time in August 2022 and it was well-received, with over 300 people attending. This event promotes our volunteer caver program and safe caving techniques. The intern can be slowly prepping for this event throughout the summer and gaining attendees during their outreach. The event this past August brought a fair number of locals out to the park, and we hope our local reach stretches even further this year, hopefully gaining some Spanish-speaking audiences, and that we have new and exciting activities to offer. Having fresh eyes to come in and plan Jr. Caver Day, as well as being a part of our interpretive operation as a whole, will be very beneficial to the park and an excellent learning experience for the intern selected. 

Intern Qualifications: 

Interns selected for the NPSCF Program should possess:

  • Customer service
  • Public speaking experience
  • Navigating crowds
  • Team player
  • Cash handling (they will be operating a cash register for our park store at the front desk)
  • Basic knowledge of Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • Basic Spanish speaking, comprehension and writing skills
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and experience
  • Strategic thinking ability
  • The ability to self-start/work independently
  • Flexibility/resourcefulness
  • The ability to adapt new skills and ideas to the public sector

Physical/Natural Environment: Jewel Cave is in the Black Hills of South Dakota which sits at a mile above sea-level. Winters are cold, windy, and a bit snowy, and summers are sunny with some thunderstorms and temperatures rarely exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall and spring are in between. From the park to the nearest town of Custer it’s 13 miles, about a 20-minute drive. In Custer there’s a grocery store, market, several restaurants, a hardware store and outdoor shop, and some gift shops. Nearest Latino communities to my knowledge would be in Gillete, Wyoming about two hours away. Rapid City would also have some Latino community there, and that is about an hour away and has a population of 70,000 people.

Work Environment: This position would primarily be indoors and inside the cave. Our offices are shared, and this position probably will be on the computer an average of one to two hours per day with the rest of the time filled with visitor interactions at the front desk, on tours, or during outreach programs. It would involve a lot of standing and the cave is 49 degrees Fahrenheit.

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