Another school year wraps up this week, and families will stumble into the new routines of the first few days of summer break. For many, the first few weeks of summer break are filled with various camps and activities – so many that it becomes a full-time job for parents to drive them around. A lot of high school age kids look for seasonal employment opportunities. Our soon to be 15-year-old daughter just got her first job at a local golf course. She has been anxious to get a job since her brother has had a paper route since last year, and we think it will be a great learning experience to follow a schedule and work with a supervisor and co-workers. The added bonus is that she will earn a paycheck and hopefully learn how to manage money rather than always asking for it. I was pleasantly surprised by how many jobs are available to younger teens. I have heard of other high school kids working as kitchen staff and dishwashers at local restaurants, caddies at golf courses, the State Fair, summer recreation programs, Wild Mountain Waterpark or as referees for soccer or lacrosse associations, or baseball umpires. Some of these jobs sound fun and pay well. The jobs I have not heard much buzz about are mowing lawns, gardening, or babysitting – and I would guess those jobs are in high demand during the summer months. As a kid I always had a lawn-mowing business in the summer, and it was a great early lesson about how to manage my own business. My parents encouraged us to save our money with an envelope system, where 10% was saved for a special project, 10% for giving, 10% for immediate spending money and the rest was put in a savings account for college.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that younger kids can also get jobs delivering your local newspaper. We have seen an increase in the number of youth who want a paper route. Paper carriers learn time management, discipline and customer service. There is a short 45-minute interview and orientation process here at the Press, but otherwise it is an opportunity for kids to manage their own delivery business. The time commitment is typically in between 60-90 minutes per week, and is preferably year-round. There are very few newspaper groups who still offer carrier opportunities for kids; we continue to do it because I personally believe it is an invaluable experience, teaching kids responsibility and entrepreneurialism at an early age.
Having a job is a huge milestone in a youth’s journey to be self-sufficient. This summer keep an eye out for kids who are working in their first job, and be kind and patient with them.
Campfires and square marshmallows
Saturday night we were invited to a friend’s house for a campfire. My son begged me to arrive early, as the kids wanted to play before it got dark. As hotdogs were being cooked on the campfire grate, the kids were fishing, tossing a football, shooting hoops, skateboarding, scootering and running in the woods throughout the neighborhood. As it grew dark, they started to play hide and seek. The adults sat around the fire discussing the stock market, new patents and trivia, while listening to the kids laughter and playful screeching that echoed throughout the neighborhood. In that moment, as in so many others, I was so grateful to live and work in this community. I hope this summer we can unplug from electronics and be energized in the outdoors - playing pick-up games and sports, stringing up a hammock between two trees, fishing or swimming in a local lake, riding bikes, taking walks, or any number of things to stay active and be in the fresh air. Consider it pure joy when the kids are laughing and the birds are singing in your neighborhood.
As the boating season kicks into high gear, it’s a great reminder to keep an eye out for sailboats and know the rules of the road on the water. We have encouraged our kids to complete the boater safety course and get their boater’s license. Lets keep our lakes and rivers safe this summer. As always, wear life jackets, stay alert and keep up on the rules of the water by visiting https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/boatwater/boatingguide.pdf.
Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.