Summer Hire: How I spent my summer vacation

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- "We are finally high school graduates!" I exclaimed to a friend, shortly after receiving my high school diploma last May. 

"That means we are also unemployed," my friend bluntly replied. 

Just like many other young adults, I viewed my summer vacation as a time to begin gaining work experience through a summer job. This summer, students in high school or college have found temporary jobs through the Little Rock Air Force Base Summer Hire program. Organized and coordinated by the Civilian Personnel Office, the program hires young adults to work as clerks, laborers or lifeguards. 

After applying to the program, I was hired and assigned to work at the 19th Airlift Wing Protocol Office. During the summer, I learned about the extensive amount of planning behind Air Force ceremonies, such as retirement and change of command ceremonies. I have also learned important administrative and technological skills, such as how to make lodging reservations for distinguished visitors and create invitations for events. This summer job taught me the importance of paying attention to details while planning for anything, which will help me as I continue my education. 

Several students who were hired discovered this opportunity, excited by the aspects of the job. 

Christina Featherston, a clerk at the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron, has participated in the program for the last four years. After her mother described the program, Featherston visited the Civilian Personnel Office's website and eagerly applied. 

"Once I found out the hours and the pay, I was all for it. Not much downtown will pay this just starting out, especially when I was still in high school," Miss Featherston said. 

Throughout the summer, many summer hires gain a deeper understanding of the Air Force mission. Harry White, a laborer also at the 19th LRS, said this job has not only taught him how to prepare and pack parachutes, but also how to have fun while working. 

"I have learned how to have lots of laughs and still get a lot of work done at the same time," Mr. White said. "Also I have learned how to tie knots." 

The young adults also learned other practical lessons, such as various technological skills. 

Jeanie Craig, a clerk also working at the 19th LRS, believed she has learned more about computers, documentation and other important administrative skills. 

"I've just really enjoyed everything about this job. There's nothing bad to say about it," Miss Craig said. 

As a clerk, Miss Featherston learned how to handle more responsibility while balancing several tasks simultaneously over the last four years. She also realized that these lessons can be used in any other career she may pursue after completing school. 

Although the opportunity to be hired this summer has passed, students interested in the summer hire program can learn more about applying next spring by calling the Civilian Personnel Office at 987-3212.