You won’t believe who I just helped out today! *Looks at the title of my blog*. Okay, you probably already know who I’m talking about! Still, it doesn’t take away from the excitement of meeting this well known and beloved Forest Service Celebrity. The one, the only: Smokey Bear! I teamed up with Field Ranger Vicki, and EFTA intern Christine to bring Smokey Bear to a few campgrounds. The plan was that we would be his handlers and visit campers for a meet and greet, and give out Smokey Bear stickers, comic books, bookmarks, and so much more. I was told that everyone gets excited for Smokey. Adults, kids, teens, doesn’t matter; They all love him. As we prepared for the day, I was excited to experience this first hand.
We visited three campgrounds and had great meetings. The first one had three little girls who met Smokey for the first time and fell in love with him. They high fived him and kept coming back for hugs. They made a little game of running up to him, hugging him, and running away. This was done around 7 times and it didn’t get old. We even had adults coming up to smokey and asking for high fives, hugs, and pictures. The last two campgrounds were a lot smaller and didn’t have many campers. Nevertheless, we had a few people come up and hang with smokey. There was even one family that had a vacation tradition of coming back each year around the same time to camp. They’ve been doing it for 6 years! Hearing a little kid say “I met you last year, Smokey!” was definitely the best comment of the day. You bet that all the kids got stickers and love from Smokey Bear. I knew that people loved the bear who warned you about preventing forest fires, but experiencing it really brought it into perspective. It was great day knowing that we were helping the Forest Service create these awesome memories for our visitors.