SF Recreation and Parks is hiring 200 city kids for its annual Workreation program, which allows students to run summer camps, city facilities, or support gardeners.
As part of the program, teenagers aged 14 to 17 lead younger campers on excursions and handicraft projects and support their superiors with daily tasks for 15 to 25 hours per week at a cost of USD 17.16 per hour. However, the main goal is to provide teenagers with work experience and skills they will need for the future.
Sadie Valentine is a high school graduate who has been working in the camps since she was 13. She says the opportunity gave her social skills to combat her anxiety and helped her find a future career path.
“Learning to work not just with kids but with their parents has taught me a lot of social skills that I definitely still use,” said Valentine. “I mean, I didn’t know what early childhood education was, and now I’ve been taking classes at City College for early childhood development.”
There are a number of previous Workreation children who now work for the department, including Jennifer Gee, Volunteer Director who ran the program for 10 years. She said her mentors were the reason she developed her willingness to work and found her passion to give back to others.
“I didn’t know how to do an interview or anything, how who knows when you are 14?” Gee said. “These life skills are not really taught in school. You don’t learn how to do a résumé, how to get an interview. “
Although this program has been running for over 60 years, moderators like Atajinae Jarreau think the opportunity is even more important as many youth development programs and extracurricular programs have been phased out or discontinued due to COVID-19.
“If you give them a program where they can interact face-to-face with people, it makes them stronger, it gives them energy, it gives them life and breathes life back into them,” Jarreau said.
Jarreau and her team go through hundreds of applications and interviews every year. What sets one candidate apart from the others is their willingness to learn, she says.
“We want responsibility, someone who can follow the rules and safety guidelines, especially when COVID is on,” said Jarreau. “But above all enthusiasm … someone who wants to be here. Someone who is energetic and committed is what we are looking for. “
The department also reserved 50 places for young people in traditionally underserved districts. They started public outreach in public housing, shelters and secondary schools last year to get the floor.
“I don’t want them to be surprised that we are offering them this great resource,” said Jarreau. “We just want to make sure we reach everyone in town. It’s not just for a group of teenagers. “
For more information on the application process, workshop dates and qualifications, please email [email protected] or call 415-831-6812. The application deadline is February 26th.
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