Pam LeBlanc shows off her Junior Ranger patch in this 2008 photo taken by her husband Chris LeBlanc at Yellowstone National Park. She became a Junior Ranger at Grand Teton National Park.

A story about a 103-year-old woman sworn in as a Junior Ranger at Grand Canyon National Park recently caught my attention.

Most Junior Rangers fall between the ages of 5 and 13, according to the National Parks Service website, but people of all ages can participate.

I say go for it if you love the parks.

Ten years ago, when I was 44 years old, I was sworn in as a Junior Ranger at Grand Teton National Park. My husband chuckled as Ranger Fozzy asked me a series of questions, then bestowed upon me an official Junior Ranger patch.

Go ahead and laugh if you want, but I love the national parks, and believe that programs like this can help everyone better appreciate and protect what Mother Nature has given us. We have to take care of them, and by sharing our love of them, we let others know that they should care too.

Plus, I wanted that patch.

It all came back this week, when I read Good Morning America’s short story about Rose Torphy, the 103-year-old who rolled her wheelchair into a park store during the government shutdown to claim her own Junior Ranger patch. She’s older than the park itself, which celebrates its 100thbirthday this year.

Torphy has three children, 18 grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren. According to her daughter, she’s been wearing her Junior Ranger pin proudly ever since – and telling those who ask her about it what it means.

The National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program teaches participants to protect national parkland. Its motto is “explore, learn and protect.”

Prospective junior rangers complete an activity book and promise to act as park stewards.

Way to go Torphy.


About Pam

I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

Where is Pam?

Click to open a larger map

Follow Pam