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Speak Out: What Was Your First Summer Job?

In recent years, fewer teens have been working summer jobs.

It’s a longstanding summer ritual for teens across the country. Once the final school bell rings in June, teens don their retail/camp/food service uniform and head to work, sacrificing precious free time lounging by the pool.

A shift in that ritual has occurred in recent years. Slate reports that only 25 percent of teens currently have summer jobs, the lowest number on record. Slate reports that this shift has occurred because more teens are taking summer classes or taking prep programs, and that teens vying for menial jobs have faced competition from older workers and immigrants.

If your teen opts to work this summer, here are some local places hiring for seasonal positions:

The is hiring lifeguards, swim lesson instructors, and water aerobic instructors.

The following Mount Vernon Plaza stores are hiring summer retail positions.

The AMC Hoffman Center 22 movie theater in Alexandria is hiring crew members, and for those with a sweet tooth, Alexandria frozen yogurt shop Sweet Frog is hiring team members.

Patch wants to know: What was your first summer job? Were you scooping ice cream at the local ice cream shop, or were you a counselor at a summer camp? Take our poll, and feel free to commiserate with your summer job tales in our comments section below.

T Ailshire June 06, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I babysat year round, so I don't consider it a summer job. The year I was 14, though, I was a cook's assistant at a private high school which educated some of the best and brightest!
DAVE June 06, 2012 at 12:30 PM
I grew up in California. Our house was on a cliff. When I say cliff, I mean cliff. We had iceplant (we don;t have it hear, too cold). My father would tie a rope around my waste and to a pillar and I would have to repel down and pull weeds. I spent weeks hanging over that damn cliff. If I made my kids do that today they'd arrest me for child abuse. He paid me a dollar an hour which back in the late 60s, early 70s, was a windfall for a kid. As I got older I transitioned into his office and made money doing transcription and working with patients. Part of my job was to collect payments. Back then we lived in an area that wasn't rural, but had many surrounding farms. People would come in and pay for their services with eggs, fresh butter, hams, etc. One guy even paid for his surgery with a side of beef. Try walking into your doctors office today and paying him with a side of beef!!
Mary Porter, CHC June 06, 2012 at 01:07 PM
I didn't have summer jobs in high school but after my freshman year of college I got a job working in the History, Genealogy and Archives room at the Connecticut State Library. It could sometimes be tedious work in a non-air conditioned space (the stacks had A/C so we often found "excuses" to work in there. The staff were decidedly eclectic, but it taught me so much about office relations (and politics), personalities and good work ethic. I love libraries and had worked for four years in the one at high school so I loved the environment. The most exciting event was that we discovered a document thief and I had to work with the team that recovered and identified the stolen property. I wasn't sure what the staff thought of me until my last week when every single person there either took me to lunch or gave me a gift. They were sorry to see me leave - and I was sad to go.
L.M. Connelly June 06, 2012 at 01:30 PM
A summer job wasn't something we thought about when I was a kid, it was something we did. Growing up in rural Minnesota I rode my bike to town to meet up with the other kids who detasseled corn for a seed company. We then took a bus out to the country and spent our summers detasseling corn on impossibly humid days down endless corn rows. Sun burns, bug bites, flattened sack lunches and time getting to know the kids you went to school with better, were rewarded with pay checks that seem small by today's standards but were fabulous and liberating as a youth. At the end of the day, the bike ride home made me feel like a million bucks. A job well done and a lot of freedom, joy and friendships.
L.M. Connelly June 06, 2012 at 01:31 PM
That's fantastic!
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Wow, thanks for sharing. Do you still enjoy rappelling (sp?)/rock climbing? LOL. I will let you know about the side of beef payment next time I try to drag one into the doc's office!
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM
great story - thanks for sharing.
Isle D Belle June 06, 2012 at 01:56 PM
I always had a job from the time I was about 13. My uncle owned a sporting goods store in my home town and I worked there every summer, holidays, winter time for ski season. I was a sales person, unpacked and priced inventory, cleaned the store, organized and put things away, pretty much anything they asked me to do. It was very generous of my aunt and uncle to let me work there, I am sure that there were times they wanted to strangle me. But it was some of the best times of my teenage years. They hired some other kids who were a few years older, but we had a great time working together and I made some great friends.
Martha Coleman June 06, 2012 at 02:25 PM
My first summer job was working as an announcer at a local radio station where I lived in southern Virginia. I initially interviewed for a part time secretarial position, but the owner really liked my voice, so he hired me to play classical music. The next summer, I worked there and at a sister station, playing pop music. When I went off to college, I continued in radio until I graduated.
Beth Jarvis June 06, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Wow Dave, that's awesome. I think you need to start writing a column for Patch. You've got a fascinating resume of crazy life experiences!
Alanna June 06, 2012 at 03:03 PM
During the summers I worked as a lifeguard at my local YMCA's indoor pool. LOL! They still needed guards, especially with all the outdoor pools paying better in the summer (and you didn't get sunburned). When I wasn't lifeguarding, I worked as a cashier at a fried chicken chain. I rode my bicycle to these jobs, 3 miles round-trip.
Valorie Sharma June 06, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I was a babysitter and delivered newspapers until I was old enough to get a "real" job. My first one was with Roy Rogers. I had to wear a cowgirl uniform and say, "Happy Trails, partner!" after handing over the food. Those were the days when roast beef was roast beef, and the fried chicken was Pappy Parker's. I loved that fried chicken.
Kevin O'Rourke June 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I've lived in the Mt.V. area for most of my life. My first summer job was in 1969 at Woodlawn Stables (back then it was known as Woodlawn Polo fields), I was 13. There were 3 of us that cleaned out stables working for a guy they called Captain. Our pay was free lessons and we got to ride the horses in the field (no cash), it was a great experience and lots of fun (the riding part that is). We just stopped by one day riding our bikes to see the horses and asked if we could help and the job carried on throughout the summer. Great memories.
ET1221 June 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM
My first job was working at The Variety Store in Hollin Hall. We weren't allowed to wear jeans, had to dress like proper young ladies and the Candy Aisle was the place to be! I remember an old crank style cash register up front. When or if the power went out business could continue with that ancient register! Think it was the summer of '76...
Chris LaMarca June 06, 2012 at 06:32 PM
My first summer job was waitressing at the NCO Club at Ft. Belvoir in 1969. Later on, I cleaned motel rooms at the Mt. Vee motel, and waitressed at the Wagon Wheel and Ranch House Restaurants. If you can do these kinds of jobs well, you can pretty much do anything.
patty barnes June 06, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I baby sat when I was young 12 or 13, but the real summer job was detasseling corn. We had to leave on a school bus around 6:30 in the morning. We walked up and down the corn rows Puling the tassels out with those blades cutting us and making us itchy! No fun, but good pay! patty
Middledaughter June 06, 2012 at 08:43 PM
My first job was playing the piano for Bible School; St. James Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. I was inJunior High School. Wow!! It takes me back.
PutCreator1st June 06, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Harddes on Backlick Rd in North Springfield in 1978..one time the ketcup dispenser blew up on a guy with 1000 $$ silk suit and.he threw the dispenser across the lobby..and the green irredescent sheen on the roast beast sandwich...one summer was enough

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