From the Archives, December 8, 2019

Getting Hired, 1965

Camp Staff interviews were held this weekend at Boxwell Reservation, specifically at the John Parish High Adventure Center. In honor of this event, we thought we’d share a story about getting WAY back in the day to show how the process has changed. This following is from a recording Kerry Parker made in November 1998 about getting hired in 1965. Kerry was 18 years old.

I went down and the Scout Office at that time was at 207 24th avenue north. That out off West End there and, right before you get to Centennial Park. It was in a two story brick house. And, it was about, well the first house on the street there. There was a filling station there next to it. And, this parking lot, it’d been made in the back. You walked in the front door and when you walked in, you walked into the Scout Shop basically, which was a little foyer about 8×12 or 10×12 or something like that… But anyway, on past that was a set of steps that went up to the left and I went up, they directed me up those steps and I went up. And they told Mr. Johnson I was there.

When you got up to the top of the stairs there you entered into a room. And to the best of my memory, there was a desk to the right and a desk to the left and on straight forward was Mr. Akers’ office. Way back in the back to the left at the top of the stairs, two or three desks back, kinda on a porch that had been built on to the house was this desk where Mr. Johnson was [the Reservation Director].

Well, somebody directed me back there and set me down in a little chair beside the desk and Mr. Johnson came back. He started talking to me. And he asked me how old I was. I told him. What rank I was. I told him. Talked to him and talked to him. But didn’t talk to me very long. Matter of fact, it was a fairly short interview. And, he said, “Well, can you swim?” And I said, “Yes, I can.” And told him what all merit badges I had and everything like that. And he says, “Well, yeah, we can use you this summer. We can probably use you on the Waterfront this summer. If you are on the Waterfront, you’ll have to go to National Camp School.” Because at that time, everybody that worked on the waterfront went to National Camp School. But also National Camp School was at Boxwell – years and years it was at Boxwell.

So, I [said] yes, I’d like to do it. And he said, basically, well, you’re hired. We’ll let ya know. So, I left. You know, felt real good. He didn’t make a lot out of it, just said you’re hired, you know, we’ll let you know.

So, I left, went home, told mom, dad. “Yeah, I am going to work out there.” I gotta make arrangements with [my boss in town] to take off another week to go to this camp school. So, I went and talked to him and he said, “Yes, you can do that Kerry. That’s not a problem.” So, there I was.

I waited about a month and no word. Got out about two weeks, about a month from camp. Maybe three weeks from camp, hadn’t heard a word. And so, we was sittin’ at the kitchen table one night and I told ‘em “Well, I hadn’t heard anything. Its right here time for camp to start. “ I says, “I guess, maybe, maybe I didn’t make the grade on that.” My dad says, “Well… they’ve changed some changes down there. I’m gonna be down at a meeting at” and he was involved in Scouts at that time, says “I’ll ask ‘em, you know, if you’re still supposed to come to camp, or something, but that you haven’t received anything.”

So, he went to the meeting. I guess it was a district meeting or something. He came back that night and it seems that Mr. Johnson had left and Bruce Atkins, who came to be a real mentor of mine… had taken over. He told my dad, he says, “Yes! You have him come out there on a certain date.” So, dad came home and told me about it and I was excited about it, you know.

Sure enough, a day or two a letter wrote that I needed to report there and I needed to have this gear and that gear and I’d be there for camp school, for so many weeks, and so forth and so on. I also at the first meeting, they had told me, I think they had told me I’d be making $25 at the first meeting, at the interview meeting… which was unheard of this time. It used to be, you’d start the first year, ‘course most people were younger, you didn’t get anything. But to start on the waterfront, to start at $25 a week would be like starting for $100 a week now.
“Getting Hired” by Kerry Parker
Recorded self-interview, November 5, 1998

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