BOSTON (CBS) – Do you remember your summer job in your teenage years?

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports: 

Seventeen-year-old Emily Shea of Lynnfield is a lifeguard at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. She works 32 hours a week and watches swimmers bob through the surf. She says she reallly likes her job.

“A lot of the days, there can be a lot of preventative stuff happening, like, if there are a lot of rip currents, we have to block off those. And on the really hot days, we need to take care of a lot of heat exhaustion and stuff like that,” she said.

Another quintessential summer job is scooping ice cream.

Matt Kohler of Marstons Mills works at Ben and Jerry’s along the docks in Hyannis.

“The best part is probably when you have a bunch of little kids come up and you give them their scoop of ice cream and you ask them if they want sprinkles or something, their faces light up and it’s really nice to see,” says Kohler.

Working when you’re young means more than just a paycheck.

Neil Sullivan, Executive Director of the Boston Private Industry Council, matches Boston teens with jobs. He can’t overstate the importance of summer employment.

“This generation of Boston teenagers are getting an advantage that their peers in cities across the country are not getting,” Sullivan said.

“They’re getting paid work experience, understanding what it is to have a boss and how to deal with her or him in a productive and a constructive way, taking criticism without seeing it as a challenge, learning how to solve problems, finishing the assignment you’re given,” said Sullivan. “These are the most valuable skills in the eyes of employers.”

Boston Mayor Tom Menino has long been a champion of summer jobs for teens. Earlier this month, he spoke at the kickoff for the Super Teen Program.

“They don’t just sit around in the summertime and say they have nothing to do,” says Menino. “It’s learning. Every day they get up, go to work and have a regimen that’s helpful to them,” he adds.

The Super Teen Program is a pre-employment program for 13- and 14-year-olds who are typically too old for the city camps, and too young for work opportunities. These kids get a stipend at the end of the summer. They work 15 hours a week. Leonard Lee, from Dorchester, loves it.

“It’s really cool. I’m learning how to blog and do portfolios and other cool stuff,” he says.

Dennis Kraze, President of Super Tours of Boston, helps fund Super Teens. He donated $50,000 to the program this summer.

“Whenever you’re in any community, you still have to give back to the community. That’s our most precious value, right now, is to help the teens, ya know, keep ’em busy,” Kraze says.

Another organization stepping up is the YMCA of Greater Boston. It is offering its programs to Boston teens all summer for free.

“They can come into our organization, engage in constructive activities and have a safe place where they can have some fun and enjoy the summer,” explains President and CEO of YMCA of Greater Boston Kevin Washington.

Mary Blake’s series, Summer Work, can be heard all this week on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.


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