Sunday, December 21, 2014

Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag


Daniel Johnson, a Davis High School junior, helps Jessica Williams and her kids, Mia, 9, Kiera, 7, and Anna, 2, to the car after bagging their groceries. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | August 20, 2014 |

How did you spend your summer? In Davis, plenty of teenagers spent theirs earning their first paychecks.

The sheer number of students in Davis looking for jobs as the final school bell approaches can make finding, and securing, such a job very difficult. Fortunately, however, there are a lot of job opportunities for high schoolers looking to bankroll his or her summer exploits.

The No. 1 employer of teens? The city of Davis.

Often, students who work for the city experience déjà vu — returning to camps they attended as elementary students, only this time they’re running the sessions as counselors.

“Ever since I was a kid, and attended the same camps I work at now, I wanted to become just like my leaders,” soon-to-be Davis High senior Ben Heeren said. “It was just a matter of time before I reached the age to begin the volunteering program.”

Heeren, and his co-worker Daniel Pardee, are camp counselors at Voyagers, a summer camp attended by children ages 10-12. Both did their time, as each volunteered for the city for a couple of years before obtaining paid positions. Pardee, a DHS graduate, got the paying job as a sophomore as a way to support himself throughout the rest of the year, but his motivations were different this year.

“I’m trying to help my parents pay for college next year,” said Pardee, who heads off to Oberlin College (Ohio) in the fall.

Heeren and Pardee’s experiences may come in handy in future summers, as it has for their supervisor, Julia Hills, who is the senior recreation leader for the Voyagers camp.

“I was a volunteer camp counselor at Camp Putah during the summers of 2009 and 2010, which gave me a leg up during the recreation leader interview process in 2013,” Hills said. “It was extremely helpful that I volunteered for two summers and that I had a summer as a recreation leader when applying for (the senior position).”

Camp counselor isn’t the only job the city has to offer.

Many of the pools in Davis hire teenagers to work as lifeguards, cashiers, snack bar attendants and swim instructors.

“I’ve worked as a swim instructor at Arroyo Pool for three years,” DHS junior Thomas McTygue said. “This is my first year working in the snack bar.”

Working at the pool has been beneficial for McTygue. He says he earns enough money to eat out every day of the school year — and he sees the job as something to do during the doldrums of summer.

“(Without the job) I’d just eat and watch TV,” McTygue said. “So it’s been nice to have the job.”

In an aquatic-minded town like Davis, the swim teaching opportunities don’t end with the city of Davis. Summerdarts, the summer swimming program offered by the Aquadarts swim program, is another popular option.

According to Carolee Gregg, the Summerdarts head coach, about 90 teenagers apply to work as swim coaches for the program. Unfortunately, she can only take about 75. Aquadarts team policy dictates that Gregg has to focus on hiring former and current Aquadarts swimmers, but she also looks at Summerdarts.

Of course, a job interacting with younger kids every day isn’t for everyone. But there are plenty of other jobs available for high schoolers looking to avoid the responsibility of looking out for elementary kids.

Nugget Markets, Regal Theatres and restaurants like In-N-Out provide avenues for young job-seekers.

Nugget, especially, employs many teenagers, with a company countywide total of about 30. At the East Covell location, there are typically seven to 10 teenaged employees, according to Kate Stille, director of marketing.

One of those employees is Daniel Johnson, a junior at DHS.

Johnson, like most teens who work at Nugget, is a courtesy clerk, bagging groceries and walking them out to a customer’s car. He’s also learning other store tasks and uses his hard-earned money to finance his passion.

“I love filmmaking,” Johnson says. “And if I could, it would be all I would ever do. … But it’s a pricey hobby, and the money I make filming for other people does not cover all my expenses.”

Even with the number of jobs available during the summer, some students are still left out when it comes to employment. And while some parents give their kids a helping hand, not having a job can leave a high schooler in dire straits.

“The main problem of not having a job is obviously money,” said William Bodendorfer, a junior at DHS. “I’m running out of money to get gas and go out to eat because I’m basically just using leftover birthday money.”

The idea of high school students competing for jobs is a new experience for most, but it is the status quo in Davis. Complicating matters for the high schoolers are college students, either UC Davis summer school enrollees or college kids coming home for the summer.

“I don’t really have anything on my résumé,” Bodendorfer said. “Whereas you’ve got college kids that are overqualified for the jobs that they’re applying for.”

In all, Bodendorfer applied for six jobs, but was not hired at any. His situation is hardly unique, as Mitchell Williams, another junior at the high school, will attest.

“I applied for three or four jobs,” Williams explained. “They just told me ‘Sorry, we can’t give you a job at this time.’ ”

While there are a lot of kids that find themselves without a job come summer, there seem to be more with jobs. Contrary to the lazy teenager stereotype, these Davis kids work hard.

Unfortunately for their employers, summer is only three months long.

How to stand out

According to Kate Stille of Nugget Markets, several characteristics make a prospective employee stand out. An applicant who showcases the following stands a good chance of getting a job:

* Positive attitude
* Enthusiasm
* Ability to carry on a fluid conversation
* Team player
* Wide variety of interests
* Sincere interest in working
* Cares about serving guests

— Reach Spencer Ault at



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5



    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11



    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10







    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery





    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8