This summer The Shafer Center is excited to bring back our Navigate Summer Program for teens and young adults. The program aims to provide valuable experiences that will allow our teens and young adults to practice essential skills for the workplace and beyond. Through a focus on job readiness, social skills, and leisure skill building, the Navigate will build a foundation to prepare our Scholars for success beyond school.

Our program is built around the concept that the earlier job and life skills are taught, the greater the opportunities are for the future. Throughout the summer, the program aims to guide our Scholars to gain confidence, learn about finances, develop their interests, and make social connections.

Last year the Navigate Summer Program was piloted at The Shafer Center and it was a great learning opportunity, not only for our Navigate Scholars but also for the staff. This year we’ve had the opportunity to fine tune some of our summer curriculum to better prepare our Scholars for the future. Our curriculum includes lessons in:

Job Readiness

  • Daily jobs at The Shafer Center to practice managing work responsibilities
  • Experience with resume building and the job interview process
  • Financial literacy which includes: earnings tracking, budgeting, and financial decision making
  • Job shadow days to gain exposure to different career opportunities

Social Skills

  • Field trips to develop and refine independent social skills
  • Using Improv to learn and practice social skills with friends and coworkers
  • Discussions and journal entries about personal experiences

Leisure Skills

  • Developing and planning lunch trips based on interests
  • Engaging in fun games and leisure activities with peers
  • Completing and discussing interest inventories
  • Field trips to help identify and explore interest areas

Another addition to the program this year will be volunteer opportunities. The Scholars will actively volunteer in the community in order to gain professional experience and insight about themselves. The experience will help them to learn what skills they have that will help them in the workplace in the future. It is also an opportunity for the Scholars to gain an understanding of what type of work environments they would enjoy. Volunteering is a way for the Scholars to practice being an active member of their community.

We received great feedback last summer from one of our very own Scholars, James Burrows.  Last year, James was an 8th grader that joined our program and was quoted having a great time, “I went to Navigate and really enjoyed it”. Though our summer was full of fun activities, we also had some great opportunities to experience the challenges of learning a new job. As James states, “The jobs were also a little challenging, like putting envelopes in people’s mailboxes. We went mini-golfing and it was a little difficult in the 2nd round because it was very hot outside. Even though Navigate was tough, I still enjoyed it and had fun.”  It was great to get this feedback from one of our own Scholars to help us develop our programming to be effective for them; to create life long learning experiences to help them prepare for the future they want. On a field trip to a go-kart track, James drove a go-kart by himself for the first time. That experience inspired him to share the following advice with his peers “I challenge you to do something new. It could be anything you want.” This is an example of what we want all of our Scholars to do; learn by trying something new.

For more information about The Shafer Center contact 410-517-1113