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Summer youth employment program cooks up
new opportunities for students at Herkimer BOCES

Aug. 18, 2016



Students cooking during hospitality and tourism session
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES summer youth employment and training program students Thea Watson and Joe Mendola pose with calzones they made during the hospitality and tourism session of the summer program.



HHERKIMER – The hospitality and tourism session of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES summer youth employment and training program allowed students to get in the Herkimer BOCES culinary kitchen and cook – plus learn about other jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Central Valley student David Barhydt said he enjoyed working in groups to cook during the hospitality and tourism session, and the getting to eat what you cooked part wasn’t bad either.

“I was really happy I was able to do this,” he said. “It’s something to do over the summer, and it’s good experience.”

The summer youth employment and training program at Herkimer BOCES runs for six weeks for 33 local students who are ages 14 and 15. The students attend for five hours per day, four days per week and are paid $9 per hour through a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant that funds the program. Students attend two-week sessions in three of the four available career clusters: agriculture, food and natural resources; hospitality and tourism; information technology; and transportation, distribution and logistics.

Terry Barr, instructor of the Herkimer BOCES culinary and hospitality career and technical education program, taught the first two-week session of hospitality and tourism, and Erica Haver, teacher at the Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington, taught the second two-week session.

During both sessions, students visiting Turning Stone Resort Casino.

David, who participated in the transportation, information technology and hospitality sessions, said he enjoyed the overall program and the Turning Stone tour.

“I think it was really cool,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve really been there.”

The Turning Stone tour included going in the kitchens of many of the restaurants there, visiting the Turning Stone Steakhouse, comparing the menus, seeing ice sculptures made by a chef and seeing the loading dock, refrigerators and freezers for the restaurants, Haver said.

Students were able to ask questions and see first-hand some of the many local jobs in culinary and the rest of the hospitality and tourism industry, Haver said.

“It was a great opportunity for them,” she said.

Herkimer student Jay Arzu said enjoyed visiting Turning Stone.

“It was really fun,” he said. “We got to see a lot of the different restaurants they had.”

Jay, who took the transportation, agriculture and hospitality sessions, said the summer program helped him realize he wants to work in agriculture.

“I knew I liked the outdoors, so going through the agriculture program, I know I want to do something in that field,” he said.

His favorite parts of the hospitality and tourism session were learning how to cook and the teamwork aspect of it, he said.

The hospitality and tourism session allowed students to learn 21st century skills in a kitchen setting, Haver said. She taught students to make cookies, baked goods, macaroni and cheese, calzones, sausage bread and more. She also showed them tips for making recipes healthier such as using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for enchiladas.

Students gained stovetop and convection oven experience and learned the cause and effect aspect of recipes – such as not putting in enough flour causing the result to be too liquidy but putting in too much flour causing the result to taste bland, Haver said.

In Barr’s session, the students learned to make and decorate cakes and cook breads, rolls, chicken riggies, soup and more. The students worked well together and put in the effort – plus, food provides extra motivation because the students know if they work hard and behave, they’ll get to eat what they made, he said.

“I think it was great,” he said. “I think the kids did a fabulous job, and they were very engaged.”

Barr also spoke highly of the overall summer program.

“I think it’s good for them,” he said. “It’s a chance for them to get experience and learn what it takes to be successful as an employee.”

Haver said students were introduced to many job opportunities within hospitality and tourism – plus in the other sessions they attended.

“So it gives them a great idea of what they are interested in and not interested in, and it helps them hone in on what they want to do,” she said.



 
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