Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Something to ask your candidate about....

When I was 21 I got a job working at a community school, supervising a summer day camp for kids. I was the "Project Manager," team leader for about half a dozen other university students. Together we ran a program for about 100 kids each week. The money came from a federal government "Youth Employment Grant," and was administered by the local community association. That summer I found out how much I love to work as a team leader. I already knew that I was going to work with kids - as a teacher, I thought at the time. That summer I found out what fun it is to be the team supervisor, overseeing delivery of the program. This discovery led to me to pursue the work I do now as a recreation programmer. I still love hiring, training, coaching and guiding leaders, and designing and administering services. I am also very good at it.

That was more than 20 years ago. The federal funding is still in place, now called "Summer Career Placement Initiative." In the city where I work as a recreation coordinator, there are day camps at all of the community schools. They provide a safe and fun place for children to spend their days, and wonderful job experience for university students on their way to discovering what it is they want to do. Many of the leaders who I hire to work in our city rec department camps and programs got their initial experience in these summer employment projects. And it's not just kids camps. All kinds of organizations employ student with money from the federal fund. I'm guessing that a lot of those students are out there every summer discovering what it is they are good at.

For summer 2006, a new funding model is being considered. It is probable that funding to Summer Career Placements will be reduced. This will result in fewer community services like day camps for kids, and fewer opportunities for young adults to explore work that may result in that wonderful eureka experience of, "Hey! This is what I want to do!"

If you attend an all-candidates meeting or if a candidate knocks on your door, ask him or her, "What will you do to ensure that funding for Summer Career Placements is maintained or increased in 2006?" It's a good question.

question: what issues interest you in this election?

mompoet - continuing to discover what it is I like to do - EUREKA!


J. Andrew Lockhart said...

sounds like a fun camp!

Mango Lane said...

The program you have posted about sounds like a great idea. I remember when I was a kid, the small prairie town where I lived had a summer program somewhat similar to this- though not as sophisticated. From this kid`s perspective, it was a great way to wile away summer days. And I met someone there who, 35 years later, is still my best friend. Any kind of program like this definitely has my support.
As for what election issue is important to me I`d have to answer: the problem of corruption. I don`t think it is exclusively a Liberal thing. I seem to remember Brian Mulroney`s stretch in office as being plagued by some kind of patronage scandal. I guess power does corrupt; so, why don`t politicians try and deal with this issue before their party gets voted out of office?

mompoet said...

Thanks jal - it was fun to work at, and fun for the kids. I even took one day off and got married that summer. And I met my best friend Robin there, where she was the preschool daycamp teacher.

Mango, that's so cool that you made a life-long friend at summer day camp. And I agree with you about the problem of corruption. What is it about being in power that makes a person think he/she is above common ethics and morality? There are some good leaders, but so many bad ones.

Happy weekend my online friends.