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Junior Chamber Program puts students to work

Students taking part in the Junior Chamber Program are, from left: Veronica Hoskin, Lydia Nelson, Kiera Hellwig and Raegan Lichtenberger.

Last fall, the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce kickstarted a new program, the Junior Chamber Program, to involve students from Grades 10-12 in their community by placing them in volunteer work placements throughout the town.

In exchange for their volunteer services, students were set up to gain vital life skills such as communication, leadership, planning, time management, appropriate workplace behaviours, and much more.

The students are also eligible to receive school credits for their hours, references, and a potential $1,000 scholarship along with a trip to the AUMA conference in Edmonton in September 2020 from program sponsors (the Town of Fort Macleod, MNP, Community Futures Alberta Southwest, and Magnum Swine Genetics) once they complete the program in June. 

Four students who applied to participate in the program, Raegan Lichtenberger, Kiara Hellwig, Lydia Nelson and Veronica Hoskin, were the first to be a part of the Junior Chamber Program, which began in September.

Program co-ordinator Ashley Nelson sought out businesses within the Chamber membership who she determined might be the best fit based on each of the students interests and skills for their work placements.

Raegan works with Ashley at the Chamber of Commerce, Kiara helps at the Homestead Bakeshop, Lydia spends her time volunteering with Extendicare, and Veronica helps out at Hand in Hand Out of School Care.

After meeting with the girls before Christmas to find out how things are going so far, Nelson heard all positive feedback from each of them that they are enjoying what they are doing and the opportunity it is giving them to learn and develop their skills, meeting new people, and that they look forward to this addition to their resumes when applying for future jobs.

Nelson was especially excited to recently hear from Raegan that, because she was enjoying the tasks she was assigned at her placement with the Chamber, she was able to determine that taking the Office Management program at Lethbridge College is the path she’d like to pursue so that she might have future employment in this field of work.

Nelson views this as a huge success story for the program as it is exactly what the Chamber is trying to accomplish for these students — helping them to discover their skills, interests, and future school and career paths. 

Students going into Grade 10, 11 or 12 can now begin applying for the Junior Chamber Program for the 2020-’21 school year and can talk to their career counsellor Christy Bazell, at F.P. Walshe or contact Ashley Nelson directly at 403-715-2125 for more information. Home school students are also welcome to apply.

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