While working as an associate academic advisor my final year at UW Madison, a fellow colleague was always sharing stories of her post college experience with Princess. The lure of the backpack-able “Final Frontier” paired with her recommendation had me scanning the web for any positions loosely related to the field of recreation. By April of 2006, I’d packed the car and hit the highway with some friends destined for the Housing Supervisor position offered at the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Once on property, I was instantly welcomed by Bonnie. As my immediate supervisor, she encouraged me to make the position my own and supported my ideas. I felt as though 90% of my job was facilitating activities and events for fellow employees and the remaining balance enforcing housing policy, rotating linen, conducting room inspections and running lodge errands. “Director of Fun” may have been a more appropriate title for my position there. Outside of that department, I was able to pick up a few hours as barista and server for Food & Beverage.
Some of my fonder memories from my first Princess summer included listening to maintenance staff discuss their Alaska winter experiences, getting teary-eyed while the Wrangell St. Elias Visitor Center video played, filleting a king salmon fresh off the fishing wheel, hiking in the Kennicott/McCarthy area, flight seeing over Mt. Drum, attending painting workshops offered on property, kayaking out to the Shoup Glacier, rafting 6-Mile, paragliding in Girdwood, and enjoying the float plane ride to Katmai National Park for bear viewing.
It was clear from the beginning that Princess was radically different than any other seasonal employer I had worked for in the past. They really did give all employees the tools to succeed and actually WANTED them to do so. Housing facilities, diversity meal plan and the training program set them apart from my other experiences.
This year I was excited to return in a full-time capacity as the Human Resource Manager at McKinley Princess Lodge. I already adore the managers and supervisors I’ll be working closely with and am excited about the arrival of seasonal employees. One of my plans this summer is to have more recreation opportunities available for all employees living on property!