--- Edit--- All of this still holds true. However after countless comments on various threads about the lack of decent Skips on the current crew I decided to open the floor to everyone here... what would you suggest, in a positive constructive way, that might help them.--- Edit---
Because of my previous posts and comments I have been PM'd by various individuals all asking similar questions. Most would like to apply to be Skips, all wanted to know what it takes, and if they would succeed or fail on the Jungle River. I don't feel qualified to answer part of that question because I do not know them personally, so I will do what I can, hopefully this helps. I've known a lot of great Skippers who have all moved on in their professional lives. Some are doctors, lawyers, teachers, actors/actresses, professional stand-up and all walks of life in between. I also realize that there were a lot of Skippers who came and went before I was even there. I will tell you what I think, and hopefully other Skippers past and present will chime in. With a little bit of luck, those who really want to be a Skip will have a better understanding of what it is, and what it takes!
Skippers are a lively bunch. We love to joke and tease among ourselves. It’s not a requirement to have thick skin, but it helps if you don’t let the little things bother you. Just remember you might be on the outside now... but eventually they will accept you.
Public speaking, if you’ve never done it before don’t worry we’ll teach you. Think of it as a full immersion program. You get 4 days with a trainer and then off you go in a boat spieling over and over to complete strangers. If you have a complete fear of public speaking or are extremely shy then this may not be the right spot for you. I’ve seen many fail, but I also remember one girl who was “quiet as a mouse” when she started. I regard her as one of my mentors, and one of the best trainers I had the privilege of knowing. All because she overcame that fear and shyness. Thank you Kaz.
Multi-Task… because you have to spiel and drive safely. People have a hard time controlling the boat and the mic… remember safety first, boat takes priority.
I hope you have energy. Working on the dock can be pretty tiring. Between the weather and the step aerobics (in the boat, out of the boat, in the boat…. ) Load/Unload will make you sweat. Plenty of us have called it our “weight loss program”. The boat is a lot cooler, but depending on your spiel you can expel just as much energy.
Sense of Humor- this should be a requirement. Jungle seems to be a natural home for those who don’t fit in elsewhere. The pranksters, jokers, class clowns, loners, creative thinkers… you get the idea. Not asking that you be funny all the time, more about comedic timing and knowing how to word the joke to tailor it to you.
Sense of balance- this comes in handy during setup and during rescue ops… I’ve caught a few Skips who almost fell in! And I’ve watched a few others actually fall!
Respect for History- This was one of the class of 55. It was one of Walt’s babies, and one of the few places you could find him when he was in a bad mood (This came from a 55-65 Skipper) There is a lot to know about Jungle. I think one of the drawbacks to the high turnover is the lack of appreciation for what Jungle is, and how much history is there.
Willingness to go above and beyond- To develop your spiel, your character, and enhance the experience of the Guests. We had a joke submission program if you have good material and are willing to sign it over. Eccentric isn't always a bad thing.
There is no audition process although I really wish there was. You are not guaranteed to make it to Jungle, but it doesn’t hurt to make your feelings known. Most of my friends know my story. I started on Indy because there was no room on Jungle. I constantly told Management I wanted J.C. but was trained on Splash. Eventually I made it to the J.C., and that became home. It’s what I wanted and I followed my heart, boyhood dream if you will. IF you really want to be a Skip go for it. Some of my best memories to date are from that river, and my crew. I still see a lot of them today! The Jungle can use good Skips, good luck. Now I open the floor in hopes that others will chime in.