This week, YES asked 465 Ithaca teens if they had a summer job this year. The results were split 50/50, with 232 teens saying they had a summer job and 233 saying they had not. Those who did not hold a summer job had great summers volunteering, playing sports, traveling, and attending camps, but those who worked earned money while practicing valuable, real-life skills.
Summer jobs are a great way for teens to get a taste of what a real-world work experience might be like. Working at a summer camp could help a teen realize that they want to pursue a career working with kids. A job in retail might help them develop their customer service skills, which they are likely to use throughout their working-life. Farming or gardening can teach teens about where their food comes from and give them skills they may need to successfully grow their own food in the future. If nothing else, summer jobs are a great way for teens to make their own money and develop independence.
Check out what having a summer job meant for some of these YES teens.
"Through my job at the Youth Farm, I learned to be more of a leader."
Youth Farm Project Crew Leader
"I've always wanted to work in retail. Being in a musical environment was great, and I got to learn about guitar repair."
Ithaca Guitar Works Sales and Repair Assistant
"I thought working with kids would be low key. I went to camp here, and I thought being a counselor would be like being a camper. It’s definitely harder than I thought, but I do really like it."
SewGreen Camp Counselor
"I loved waking up every morning to work on the mosaic! I've never done this kind of work, so I learned a lot from this job."
1st Street Mosaic Project
Apprentice Mosaic Maker
"I love teaching dance lessons, I'm good with kids, I'm responsible, and I'm hard working. This job allowed me to use my strengths."
Armstrong School of Dance Camp Counselor
"I acquired a lot of new skills that relate to retail, and I had fun learning how to make jewelry and advertising the store on social media."
Thrive Ethical Fashion Store Associate
"Working at Durland and helping with the Prisoner Express program was the perfect first job. It helped me find my strengths and weaknesses."
Durland Alternatives Library Assistant
"This job provided an awesome, new experience. I learned about soldering copper pipes, various plumbing tips, and ways to fix plumbing problems."
City of Ithaca Building Maintenance Assistant
"I love working at the pool. I learned to stay positive, be nice, and to be patient with people."
Alex Haley Pool Swim Aide and Cashier