An interview with Kelly Berge conducted by Aamir Sheriff

This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Kelly Berge, an Employment Skills Facilitator from our posAbilities Employment Service. This is an exciting week over at PES – they are in the midst of their first ever Head Start spring break employment camp for youth who are getting ready for employment!

I started by asked Kelly ‘What are the spring break campers gaining from participating in this camp?’ She shared that the goal is for them to have fun while starting to think about work, since their next few years following high school are crucial. They go through activities that help them determine not only what field they want to work in and where they want to work, but also what it means to be a productive, successful employee with a positive attitude.

Next up, we talked about some of the activities that she and Lauren Berube, the co-facilitator of the camp, have been running. Kelly told me that they had revamped their curriculum this year to make it more fun and include more activities such as the ones below.


Lauren (left) and Kelly (right) show off some of the folded towel animals made by the campers

• To learn about following directions and task completion, the campers learned a few tips such as ‘ask, listen, and learn’. They then followed directions to complete tasks that develop marketable job skills. Some of these include building archive boxes (useful in an office setting), folding t-shirts (useful in a retail setting) and folding towels in animal shapes (useful skill to have while working on a cruise ship such as Carnival cruise ship lines).

• ‘Clips N’ Chips’ is an activity that allows the campers to learn about workplace behaviour. This week, they will be watching “Pursuit of Happyness” [sic] while munching away on chips. Their task in this activity is to identify appropriate and inappropriate workplace behaviours they see in the movie.

In the ‘be on time / be ready for work’ lesson, the campers participated in a team relay activity. Here, they compete in teams to learn how to prepare for work through the development of routines that make up a work day, such as morning of the work day, hygiene, arrival at work and evening before the next day of work. Laminated cards with different daily tasks had to be arranged in order based on routines they would follow, and the winning team was awarded by “getting the job” they were competing for in the game!

Lastly, I asked Kelly about her best personal experience from the camp so far, and she shared a great story. One of the campers seemed to be finding it difficult to follow along throughout the day. That day, Kelly and Lauren ran an activity to help the campers discover ‘why we work’ and also identify their dream job. He loved anything to do with movies, but did not seem to understand the lesson. However, at the end of the day, on his way out, this same camper showed Kelly that he in fact did follow along when he told her, “I want to work in a hotel.” She shares that she is excited to work with him over the rest of the camp and see his interests develop further!


Kelly (left) and Lauren (right) having some fun with our Head Start t-shirts

For those families and potential campers who missed our spring camp, don’t you worry! The PES team will be hosting their annual Head Start Employment Summer Camps for youth ages 14-18 in July and August. An info session will be held on Tuesday, June 3rd for anyone who wants to know more about the Head Start summer camp. For more information or to register, please email us at [email protected] or call 604-291-1902.