Help is hard to find. It’s difficult to find responsible young people who show up on a consistent basis, or at least communicates when they aren’t able to be here. Last year was an exception.
When the pandemic came we started with a couple of high school-age boys who could work for half a day and get their school work done in the other half. In the end, one washed out, but the other stuck it out for the summer (even though this was his second job). Unfortunately, he didn’t want to continue on again this year.
We thought we stumbled across another pair of workers this winter. The neighbor kids had some buddies over and were mudding out in one of our fields. When confronted, their dad told us to put them to work. Well, we did. It worked for a couple of Saturdays. They stayed at it and worked hard, but even though we paid a couple dollars more than minimum wage, they only came a few times.
As a rule, we don’t ask kids to do anything dangerous, nor anything we haven’t done or won’t do alongside them. It doesn’t mean we always work beside them either. They still have self-motivation. They aren’t expected to work at a breakneck pace, just a constant pace.
Sometimes the assignments are menial, like sweeping, shoveling, cleaning, or sorting. However, if the desire is there we also try to give them the opportunity to learn more skilled tasks such as welding or driving the backhoe. In fact, when I was in college we had a student do the half day vocational program through the high school. When he was done, he began a career as a welder.
A few weeks ago, we talked about looking for a student to work this week. I talked to our oldest (soon to be 15) about asking her ag teacher if there were any boys who weren’t going somewhere during spring vacation. Somewhere during that conversation, it was decided that she would be available to work this week.
She has done a good job. I know some of the jobs aren’t the most fun, but she has stayed at it. She has pressure washed, started sorting/cleaning the parts room, done some yard cleanup, and helped sort the tire pile. I would have put her in a tractor, but there wasn’t anything we needed to do this week.
Like any of the kids we hire, we’re not overworking her; she is working 4-6 hours a day as she still has sports and other activities going on as well.
Hopefully we will be able to put Ava to work some this spring and summer. Maybe she could also do some scouting for us? We will have to see how everything shakes out. There are a lot of activities for kids to choose to participate in, but this kid also wants to have a car and gas money next year!