This summer marks the 4th year of Boone County Family Resources landscape crew operation, a vocational program designed to help participants prepare for community employment. Crew members learn skills portable to any job, such as being on time, following instructions, working as a team, communicating professionally, dressing appropriately, staying on task, and problem solving. It is hoped these critical “soft skills” become ingrained as work ethic, and strengthen their potential for success in future employment.
“The landscaping crew is about a lot of growth in a short period of time,” says Maya Tarter, Client Services Coordinator I and manager of the program. “Just as you witness seedlings mature into delicious tomatoes over a couple months, a similar experience is also occurring with many trainees. Fourteen-year-olds who don’t necessary understand the concept of work make tremendous progress in a few weeks and are better able to navigate expectations in the workplace. Some of the older trainees that have recently graduated from high school are sometimes able to be a role model to younger co-workers. Overall, the days are long and hot, but trainees get the satisfaction of earning a paycheck and getting a few steps closer to competitive employment.”
This year’s team varies in ages and backgrounds with each participant working to gain the experience needed to land them a job. This summer’s crew is: Devon, 16 years old; William, 18 years old; Teaghan, 20 years old; Timothy, 14 years old; Kieran, 16 years old; and Ryan, 20 years old.
This summer is a special one for Trevon (pictured left) who completed his training with the crew. He’s pictured at right with Maya Tarter as he received his training certificate earlier this month.