Mayor hopes to put more kids to work

by nathan oster

Mayor Bob Graham is making a pitch this week for a community youth employment program similar to one that is currently being run in Meeteetse and being funded in part through Sykes Grant funding.

Graham presented information to the Greybull Recreation District board on Monday and planned to make a similar pitch to the Greybull Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday afternoon.

In Meeteetse the program is a collaboration of the school district, the Department of Workforce Services, local businesses, the Town of Meeteetse and the Wyoming Community Foundation, which administers the Sykes Grant program.

If a similar program were launched in Greybull, Workforce Services wouldn’t participate, according to Graham. But the program could still thrive, he said, in a collaboration involving the recreation district, the town and the Sykes program.

Graham explained that if the town, the rec district and the Sykes Grant program each contributed a set amount, say $10,000, it would create a pool of money that could then be disbursed to businesses that participate in the program.

The participating businesses would hire kids, typically between the ages of 14 and 19.

The pool of money would then be used to supplement the wages of those workers.

Graham said the program would create job opportunities for young people and give them valuable experience in the workforce. They’d also be required to write resumes and go through interviews, just like they would for a regular job.

Nineteen kids are involved in the program in Meeteetse.

Graham said the Greybull program would employ “as many as we could afford” and that a variety of jobs could be offered — from waiting tables in local restaurants to helping the chamber out at its airplane museum to aiding the recreation district in its programming.

The biggest beneficiary of the program would be the kids, Graham said.

“I know some of them struggle to find jobs,” he said.

Supt. Barry Bryant said kids would want to know up front how much they’d be paid, how many hours they’d be required to work, and whether the hours would be flexible enough to allow them to do other things during the summer months.

Serena Brown suggested surveying the kids at GHS and GMS to see if it’s something that would interest them. “I think it’s great and that it’s something we need, but if they don’t support it, we shouldn’t be interested either,” she said. “I mean, we may all think this is great … and then we get two kids.”

Brown said parents, too, to should asked for their input.


Other news

In other business Monday night:

  • Director Heather Howe reported that there’s been a delay in renovations to the Herb Asp Community Center. The town advertised for bids, but received none. A second round of advertising is underway, and while the town would like to award the bid in October, nothing is guaranteed at this point.

Graham said the problem is that companies that could do the work are either busy, hired out or unable to meet the tight timeline required for the job. The recreation district wants the work to be done in time for the building to host the holiday craft bazaar in early December.

“It’s not that they didn’t want to do the work, it’s just that they’re tied up,” said Graham.

Howe said she’s also been trying to schedule the refinishing of the gym floors, but is reluctant to do so, given the uncertainty of the renovation project.

  • It was reported that the high-tunnel greenhouse which has been setting outside the Herb Asp Community Center would be going to the Wyoming Retirement Center.
  • The recreation district accepted $4,504.89 in Sykes Grant funding for the purchase and installation of a new sound system for the roller rink.
  • Howe was asked why so few games are scheduled for the fall intramural sports teams. While football was a lesser concern, given that four games are scheduled with Cowley, volleyball and soccer, in particular, have few games.

Howe explained that in the case of soccer, Burlington doesn’t have a team and no other communities in the area run their program this time of year. In the case of volleyball, she said she’s trying to schedule matches with Basin.

All three programs have strong numbers. There are 44 out for football, 53 out for soccer and 24 out for volleyball. Janell Craft said she fears that without games to look forward to, kids might get bored with simply practicing. “I’m afraid numbers might go down,” she said.