How many times has a friend informed you that he/she got a summer job washing dishes, flipping burgers or mowing lawns? Quite a few, I assume. But has a friend ever told you that he or she picks peas for a job? Or instructs sailing at a canoe club for extra cash? Or pumps gas at a marina for spending money? Probably not as many. But, yes, there are teens in Western New York holding these occupations as summer jobs.
Meet Jon Egloff, who picked peas last summer at Winter Farms in Orchard Park. Jon is a freshman at Canisius High School. He worked every day for a few hours, depending on how much needed to be picked.
"In total, I worked about 30 hours a week," he says. "I got to work, signed in and my boss would tell me what to pick that day."
Jon heard about the job because his brother had worked there the previous summer. "My grandpa also knew the [owner of the farm], so he said I should try to get a job there."
Jon had to get his working papers to work on the farm, but other than that, the application process was fairly easy. "I only had to fill out a tiny, half piece of paper," Jon says. "It took about thirty seconds."
One of the oddest things for Jon was the fact that most of the workers there spoke Spanish instead of English. "There were a lot of foreign people," Jon says. "My Spanish really improved."
Jon says his least favorite part of the job was dealing with the scalding heat of the summer days. "Last summer was really hot," Jon says. "Being out in the field was painful."
So what was Jon's favorite part of the job? Well, the reason why any teen gets one: the pay!
Lindsay Wright has a different reason for being attracted to her job: playing around with her sailing students in the water. Well, one might ask, what job allows for having fun, being with kids and being in the water? Teaching sailing!
"I've been working there for two summers now," says Lindsay, a senior at Nichols School, who will be attending Northeastern University in the fall. Lindsay teaches sailing at the Buffalo Canoe Club, which, contradictory to its name, is in fact located in Ontario. But luckily Lindsay does not have to drive back and forth every day. Her family has a house less than half a mile from the canoe club, so she can walk to work every day.
"I get to work at around 8:30, and leave around 4:30," Lindsay says. "I work five days a week [Monday to Friday], and total I work 40 hours a week."
Lindsay says that her favorite part of the job is working with the small children that are learning to sail.
"I get to play around with them, playing games and such," says Lindsay. "It's really fun."
Her least favorite part: "... When a kid gets hurt or is crying, and I have to cheer them up and deal with their crying."
"I've been sailing my whole life. I really like sailing, and the job seemed easy, because it's pretty close to my house. It made sense."
But the certification process was not so easy. "I needed a ton of qualifications to get the job," says Lindsay. "I had to attend a first aid course, and I had to attend a boating license course. I also had to do a CPR class and a fundamentals of sailing class, where they teach you what it means to be a coach. Finally, I had to get a certain sailing level at the Canoe Club, and after that I had to take another course, so five courses total."
Lindsay loves the job, and enjoys getting up every morning and going to work. "I really like it. I always enjoy myself. It's a really fun job."
But Lindsay isn't the only teen working on the water in Western New York this summer. Patrick Nicholson, who lives in Berwyn, Pa., but spends his summers in Chautauqua, works as a crew member at the Chautauqua Marina in Mayville.
"I needed a job, and the marina was convenient because it's so close, and we store our boat there," says Patrick, a sophomore at Conestoga High School, in a suburb of Philadelphia.
"At the marina, I do a lot of pumping gas and cleaning boats," he says. "I pretty much just do whatever needs to be done out on the docks, whether it be gas, cleaning or launching boats."
Patrick worked at the marina last year as well, and he already had some experience with boats, so the choice to work at the marina seemed the most logical.
"I always hope for renters, because it's fairly easy. We just show the people the boat, tell them how to work it, and launch the boat. Then, at the end of the day, they come back in, and I clean the boat off."
Patrick's favorite part of the job is getting to work with the boats. While his job may be unique, his least favorite part of the job may not be: cleaning bathrooms.
"Cleaning the bathrooms is always the least favorite part of my day," says Patrick, who last summer also delivered newspapers at the Chautauqua Institution. "I stopped delivering newspapers so I could work the morning shift at the marina. I work there five days a week, and somewhere around 30-40 hours each week."
Overall, Patrick really enjoys his job, because he loves to be around boats and the water. "There are few jobs as cool as this one," he says.
Well, those are some ideas to get you started if you're looking for a summer job but have an adventurous streak or a desire to get a summer job that isn't exactly a stereotypical one. Whether you want to work or not is your decision; but if you want to spice up your summer and earn some extra cash, picking peas, teaching sailing or working at a marina may be just the job for you.