Youth Service Corps Leaving Mark On Camp Sinoquipe
Amid the pinging of BB gunfire, splashing lake water and campfire songs, another sound is emerging this summer from Sinoquipe Scout Reservation - the sound of hammers, shovels and other hand tools needed for general maintenance and upgrades at the Dublin Township camp.
A team of five area men and their crew leader employed through the Employment and Training Office's summer work experience program have been onsite daily since May 20 completing an array of duties at the camp that hundreds of Cub and Boy Scouts call home. The crew is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Investment Board.
According to camp director Jack Rhodes, summer crews had been an annual fixture at the reservation for multiple years. However, funding needed to keep the program up and running literally dried up.
Fast forward 10 years to summer 2009, and the newest crew comprised of leader Daniel Hurney of McConnellsburg and team members Lance Mellott, Harrisonville; Dane Sauter of Warfordsburg; and McConnellsburg residents John Pittman, Chris Feagley and Zack Pittman has already erected a new flagpole and siren pole, pruned trees, installed new split-rail fencing at the dining hall, dry laid a 140- feet block retaining wall, aided in the opening of the new dining hall, shingled two cabin roofs and completed other general maintenance projects selected by Rhodes.
During the next three weeks, the group will be relocated to another job site along West Market Street in McConnellsburg where they will move the CareerLink office into an adjacent property and construct a handicapped accessible restroom for employees and clients. Hurney noted he's enjoyed working with his crew and deems this temporary summer employment as one of the better jobs he's had over the years.
Upon completion of their duties at CareerLink, the crew, who fall between the ages of 17 and 21, will return to Sinoquipe Scout Reservation where Rhodes will have a full list of duties awaiting them. "I'd like to commend them for a job well done," Rhodes told the "News." "They've been a valuable asset to Camp Sinoquipe."
Mellott and John Pittman both say that aside from the occasional bee sting and troop of ants, they've enjoyed working at the camp and being outdoors. Mellott added when his time with the summer work program concludes, he will be returning to Whitetail Ski Resort, where one of his primary duties is "making snow."
Meanwhile, fellow crew member Feagley mentioned he has already contacted a recruiter to enlist with the U.S. Army. His post high school education dreams include attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
While funding typically allows Employment and Training to place between five and seven youths in the workforce during the summer months, Stephanie Bard, career placement specialist, pointed out this round of money enabled approximately 30 area youths to build or expand on their existing job skills.
In order to participate in the program as an individual or a crew member, Bard stated, certain criteria must be met. Not only must the participant's income fall between a certain range but a barrier must also be present, whether it be a disability, a criminal background or participation in certain assistance programs.
Businesses employing one or multiple summer youth workers this summer include Fulton County Medical Center, Pine Ridge Assisted Living, Culler's Agway, Fulton County Food Basket, Treasure Trove, Even Start, Fulton County Library, Needmore Veterinary Clinic, Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School, Schriever Farms, Summer Thyme Floral, Center for Families, Fulton County Partnership, CareerLink and the county maintenance department. Typically, Employment and Training finds itself short on work sites and is already searching for new locations to send its summer help.
Word of mouth is responsible for the majority of participants finding out about the program, but advertising, posters and working side-by-side with area schools have also produced results, said Bard.
Even though the positions are only part time or temporary, it results in the participant obtaining much-needed job references, people skills and experience in a variety of trades, such as plumbing, landscaping, masonry, electrical and clerical. In addition, Employment and Training completes assessments on each participant rating them on the completion of tasks, following instructions, taking constructive criticism, personal hygiene, appropriate attire, punctuality and attendance in hopes their findings will better prepare their participants for full-time employment down the road.