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Jewish World Review May 4, 2001 / 11 Iyar, 5761

Jake Grove

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Consumer Reports

For some teens, summer means work and money -- Summer is just around the corner. Soon, students everywhere will be soaking up rays rather than textbooks and riding waves instead of school buses. It is freedom at its finest, and nothing can hold them back.

That is, of course, unless they want some money to ride those waves and buy the suntan lotion necessary to make a great summer.

If it's moolah they crave, it's a job they must have.

"I need the money," said Chavis Rice, 16. "I can't stand having my parent buying things for me."

Chavis, of Anderson, S.C., has worked summer and part-time jobs since last year. He is an alumnus of Zaxby's, currently works at Wendy's and will be adding construction work to his schedule over the summer. Rice calls it hard work but a sacrifice he is willing to make in order to get the money he wants.

"I don't have any time for friends," he said. "I have to have a paycheck, so I have to be at work."

Brandon Adger, also of Anderson, has gone through the same thing. He started working as soon as he could, taking jobs with TNT Music and a repair shop part-time. All the while he was taking summer school classes too.

Brandon will start working at Bosch full-time in July, when he turns 18. Thanks to the help of Pendleton High School's school-to-work program, he is able to work at the plant and take courses related to his job at Tri-County Tech for free.

"I have to give up a lot and it can get frustrating at times," Brandon said, "but with G-d on my side, I'll get through."

Tameika Morris, 18, is taking a similar approach. She is in the same program as Brandon and will work at Oconee Memorial Hospital this summer. She also works at Publix supermarkets to make money for her car while going to school.

All the hard work she has put into her various careers to this point has been done to achieve her ultimate goal at Oconee Memorial. She stopped playing basketball and spending time with friends so she could stand on her own two legs right out of high school.

"(Nursing) is something I have wanted for a long time," Tameika said. "I didn't get to do everything I wanted, but I don't really consider that a sacrifice."

The Bosch and Oconee Memorial experiences, however, are not typical of summer employment. For most, the money and frequent fun of a seasonal job is more than enough. They take jobs like pizza delivery, camp counselor and cashier to pass the time and get some skills that will help them in later careers.

"No matter what job they are going into, whether a doctor, lawyer or counselor, you are all those things (at camp)," said Sue Edwards, manager of Camp Toccoa in South Carolina.

Edwards hires about 35 people every summer for counselor and communications positions at Camp Toccoa. She says it gives students a chance to enjoy some summer time off and the summer weather while being employed. Some are former campers, some are students, but all are looking for a good time for eight weeks of the summer.

A happy personality and experience working with children are the main qualifications she looks for. But even if someone doesn't have that, it does not mean they shouldn't apply. In fact, one of her best employees was a person who had none of the typical skills that go with counseling. He just wanted to try something different and was a people person. It just goes to show that anyone looking for summer work can find it, if they look in the right place.

Like camp counselor, lifeguarding is a great job to combine a love of money with a love of summer.

"It's something fun to do," says Kathy Tritt, 18, who has worked as a lifeguard at a local beach and hopes to do so again this summer. "You get out there in your bathing suit and enjoy the sun."

But the job is not all roses. There are very serious matters to attend to when looking after the welfare of children and adults in the water.

"It is hard, but you get the chance to use what you learned in those (first-aid) classes doing a fun job."

According to Rick Isaacs, manager of Anderson's Papa John's pizza restaurant, most summer job applicants he gets are looking for a way to pass the time. Also, it gives some people their first job experience and a feel for the working world.

"There are no preconceived notions of what they should be doing," he said. "I have had a lot of people come in, it's their first job, and they were the best workers I had."

No matter what students do, most everyone will agree - parents, employers and workers - that a summer job is worth it. It's something different from the boredom of television or the rigamarole of school, grades and teachers.

"It gives them something to do and something to focus on," Edwards said.

"It's fun," Chavis said of his summer employment, "and I figure it's better to be in a new work environment than doing the same old thing all summer."

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