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CCFB News» June 2022

Ag Lit BitA Summer of Possibilities

06/08/2022 @ 9:00 am | By Diane Merrion, Director of Ag Literacy

     

School’s out (or almost out) for summer, so now what? Summer was always that time we couldn’t wait to get out of school, hang outdoors, ride bikes, sleep in (not one of my young or old abilities), and make some extra money.

 

My early years included earning some cash doing chores such as cutting grass or washing cars. Eventually I was allowed to help at my parents’ beauty shop such as cleaning, filling the pop machine, and finally shampooing hair. I couldn’t wait to get a real job which I finally did with a work permit and ended up as a dental assistant. I still can’t believe they would let a kid, with no experience, do such a job. I went from cleaning hair to cleaning teeth, so I felt as though I hit the jackpot when at age 16, I started work as a bank teller. I felt like a star and loved that job so much. It had all I wanted including friendly co-workers, friendly customers, and required no cleaning (except my hands from the residue of handling cash every day).

 

The experience of being a teller and learning about the jobs within the small savings and loan really were my first “job shadow” outside of school. I didn’t mind working through summers, weekends, and after school and worked as many hours as I could. There was a lot of competition for summer jobs, just like summer internships during college.

 

How things are different now! There are summer jobs (and many full-time jobs) with no one knocking down the door trying to gain a job. Being the first one to get their application in before school ended isn’t really a “thing” anymore.

 

The Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation began a Farm Shadows Program a few years ago and built-up interest in the program not only from high schools who want to expose their students to careers in agriculture, but more recently from our professional members who want the opportunity to tell students about careers in their business sectors. Some local businesses such as the greenhouse industry are all seeking summer employees to help them and to also provide information about the opportunities in horticulture. A Farm Shadow last month showcased the job of a veterinarian and related careers in the equine industry (see article). The host farm follow-up with us asking if we knew of students who were interested in summer work. 

 

The agriculture industry has many job possibilities this summer that can provide youth exposure to learn what they may or may not end up having a passion for. I learned early in my first jobs what I didn’t want to do, but it took a while to learn what I did want to do. Don’t sleep in and miss the chances that are everywhere out there this summer.

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