Summer Youth Employment and Training Program

by Press Release-Camden Children's Garden | Jul 17, 2006
Summer Youth Employment and Training Program The Camden City Garden Club is launching its Summer Youth Employment and Training Program. This program creates fulltime employment for 16 young people, most from the City of Camden. It provides paid employment along with job-readiness and job-training skills for the participants, who range in age from 14 to 22.

Many of the participants continue their employment at the Garden through the school year – working part-time when they return to school and college. Other youth become full-time Garden employees after they graduate from high school.

The program is conducted at the Camden Children’s Garden on the Camden City waterfront. Gaining valuable work experience, these youth employees have become important members of the Children’s Garden staff. The young workers who are known for their friendly natures and positive attitudes invite families to “come outside and play” at the Children’s Garden throughout the year.

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Campbell Soup Foundation, ING, the Philadelphia Eagles, PNC, St. Lawrence Cement Commerce Bank and the William Penn Foundation.

During the summer, the students work full time. Daily tasks include weeding, watering, greeting visitors in the Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House and Ginkgo’s Gift Shop, assisting in the office, helping with exhibit construction, and hosting interactive activities during special events. Summer Youth also embark on creative tasks, such as creating unique and artistic Garden benches that are hand painted. Many are on display at the Children 's Garden. The Youth will also embark on educational and fun field trips with Garden staff, as well as learn skills in their training classes (2 classes per week).

During the school year, Summer Youth staff members are offered the chance to work part-time, weekend hours. They become recognizable members of the staff, hosting birthday parties and assisting children with craft and educational activities during Festivals.

David Henriguez, an 18-year-old Camden resident, is returning to work for his fourth summer at the Garden. In past summers, David has aided Garden supervisors in the construction of the Spring Butterfly Ride including the construction of its surrounding deck and ramp. David, a masonry student, graduated in June this year from Camden County Technical School. He also won first place for all of New Jersey in the Skills USA Masonry competition! David has helped construct several Philadelphia Flower Show exhibits at the Garden and is responsible for the foundation work of the Garden’s new Ben Franklin Exhibit. You may often see David operating the Garden’s amusement rides, cultivating the Garden’s lush plant life and helping visitors during the Garden’s festivals. David takes pleasure in doing “what he learned in school,” and likes to interact with the Garden’s many visitors.

Maya Johnson, 20, is a junior at Rutgers University Camden, where she majors in Journalism/ Communications. Maya has been employed at the Garden for four years and also works at Volunteers of America. Maya attended Camden’s Creative Arts High School, and her talents have led her to paint murals on Garden bench backs, write articles for the Garden’s newsletter, and add creative input to the Garden’s Sponsors Picnic. All of the Program’s sponsors will be honored at that event in August.

Emily Zayas, 21, is a graduate from the Camden County Technical School carpentry department who has come to work at the Garden full time. Emily grew up in North Camden, but now commutes from Marlton, NJ to the Garden, where she has been an employee since 2001. Emily’s talents are seen throughout the Garden through her horticultural work, operating the Garden’s amusements rides, interacting with the public during the Garden’s festivals, and her carpentry efforts on several Philadelphia Flower Show exhibits such as the Ben Franklin exhibit, the children’s playhouse, and the Giant’s Chair. She lists the colorful Adirondack chairs among her favorite creations, but is also proud of a recent train garden expansion that she spearheaded with Katie Clarke.

Katie Clarke, 20, just graduated from Burlington County College and will be attending Rowan University this fall, majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in American Studies. Katie has worked at the Garden for 2 ½ years, serving on the Education staff as a Grow Lab teacher in Camden Elementary Schools, a garden lesson teacher, and an assistant for class trips that visit the Garden. and helps run class trips. Katie is a ride operator, tends to the butterflies, works in the Gift Shop, and interacts with Festival-goers through crafts and other activities. This Maple Shade resident loves working at the Garden because she can interact with children and obtain experience in Education for her career as a teacher.

About the Camden Children’s Garden:

The Camden Children’s Garden wants you to Come Outside and Play at our facility on the Camden Waterfront. The 4.5-acre garden features a variety of themed educational exhibits for children, including the Dinosaur Garden, Storybook Gardens, Red Oak Run and Tree House, Cityscapes Garden and more. Enjoy great indoor attractions including the Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House, the NEW Benjamin Franklin Exhibit, and Plaza de Aibonito, a Puerto Rican tropical exhibit. Ride the Commerce Carousel, Arrow River Express Train Ride, and Spring Butterfly Ride for a small charge. Consider a Garden Membership which will allow you to visit us over and over again throughout the year. With great events from April – December, there is always a good reason to visit the Camden Children’s Garden. Bring a picnic lunch and eat at one of our great Garden Stops or beautiful Artist’s Benches. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children (age 3 -11), and free for children two years and under. Visitors to the Adventure Aquarium can also visit the Children’s Garden for an additional $2.50, payable at the entry gate near the penguin exhibit. Additional information is available online at, or by calling (856) 365-TREE

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Author: Press Release-Camden Children's Garden


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