AntFarm and SkiBowl giving teens a job
The nonprofit organization and the resort help build life lessons
As a young teenager, Travis Roundy was lost, wandering down a misguided path that left him straying from his true identity and the person he wanted to become.
Life was too confusing.
The people he was with and the choices being made seemed like inescapable realities despite the overwhelming awareness that none of it was right for him.
But these days that life is history.
Roundy, 19, is not spending this winter surrounded by ill-advised temptations and unsavory dilemmas but rather undertaking the responsibility of his job as a SkiBowl Adventure Park coordinator. Hes one of 14 young individuals hired by the Mount Hood ski resort through a partnership with AntFarm, a Sandy-based youth center dedicated to providing mentorship and opportunities to at-risk teens from the Sandy, Boring and Estacada areas.
For the past two weeks, AntFarm members have been asked to operate the park and are paid minimum wage to ensure the safety of customers, most of whom are children, who ride inflatable tubes down a hill.
Were focused on ... making sure the kids themselves are supported and comfortable and realize they have a support team here to fall back on and help them with what is essentially their first job, said Sam Hardy, AntFarms work force development manager
SkiBowls Sean Malloy first thought of the possibility of partnering with AntFarm. Frustrated with his previous employees and the constant turnover, Malloy believed that AntFarms teens could provide the work ethic and reliability he was looking for.
And developing teens with those qualities is the goal of AntFarms work-readiness program.
Individuals looking to join the youth center are placed in the program and asked to volunteer, helping elderly folks who need their gutters cleaned or firewood chopped, as well as performing other forms of community service.
After they demonstrate that theyre ready to be about AntFarm and help the community, theyre rolled into our paid positions, Hardy said.
Thats when the program teaches teens about time and money management, responsibility and more. AntFarm made connections around the community and eventually partnered with the Bureau of Land Management and provided teens who built top-of-the-line bike paths at the Sandy Ridge Trail.
We help them transition into real-world jobs, Hardy said.
Seeing the teens AntFarm produced prompted Malloy to contact the youth center, which agreed to supply the resort with 14 of its hardest workers.
So far (Malloy) seems pretty happy with the whole thing,Hardy said.
And the teens are enjoying the opportunity to help SkiBowls visitors and spend all their days on the mountain.
We have tons of little kids who go there, people whove never been to the snow before, Roundy said. You just get to see the smiles on their faces. You get to help them have a good time. Its awesome.
Every day is unique, said David Kreger, 19, whos also working at SkiBowl. Every day provides a new memory.
The qualities displayed each day at the resort have been instilled by the programs mission. Teens arent only helping SkiBowls visitors or their community, theyre building relationships with AntFarms new and young members and imparting the lessons theyve acquired.
I love this place and what its all about, Kreger said. Theres a lot of struggling teenagers out there who cant figure out that transition from being a teenager to becoming an adult, and I feel this is what thats about.
I want to help people, and I feel this is a good way to do that. Its a good way to help people realize their inner strength and figure out who they want to be. Its all about supporting new people who come in and younger people so younger people dont make some of the mistakes us older people have made.
Before joining the program, many of the youths were unfocused or unenthused about their futures. Today, theyre diligent employees whove performed admirably so far. And, most importantly, theyre setting goals and aspirations.
Kreger wants to continue building trails while Roundy is thinking of becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.
I love what AntFarm is doing, Roundy said. I think its the change that needs to be happening in our community.Add a comment