The Life & Work Connections program offers on-the-job vocational skills training through the Landscape Crew to young adults aspiring to obtain community employment. This year, there were seven participants on the crew ranging in age from 15 to 30 years old. Work begins typically once school is out for the summer and continues through early autumn.
During their time on the crew, trainees work on both hard and soft work skills to gain the experiences vital to successful employment. The Landscape Crew is responsible for weeding, planting flower and vegetable seedlings, mulching, pruning and clipping plants, raking up leaves, sweeping walk ways, picking up trash in the parking lots, and harvesting vegetables at four of the agency’s properties.
“I liked working with plants,” says Shelby.
While the crew members are learning how to do the physical work, they are also building important soft skills such as communication, teamwork, networking, problem solving and developing self-awareness.
“I made friends through the landscaping crew and I liked brushing up on my gardening skills,” says Kristine.
Additionally, the crew helps to support its members’ health and wellbeing by encouraging physical outdoor activity as an antidote to boredom and stress.
“The landscaping crew was awesome and invigorating,” says Brianna. “It gets you away from everyday life, like going to school.”
The crew had a bountiful harvest this year in their gardens and took time to package up fresh herbs to share with BCFR co-workers.
“I enjoyed working with this year’s crew,” says Maureen Johnson, Client Services Coordinator and manager of the Landscape Crew. “They learned to not to give up on their goals, their dreams, on themselves. They learned to try a daunting task just one more time and finally succeeding.”