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Boys & Girls Clubs team with Old Navy to teach job skills
Teens learn work ethics, merchandising, teamwork
Myron Dabney hands Jair Drummond clothing to display at the Old Navy on Dawsonville Highway. Dabney and Drummond gained hands-on work experience at the store through a partnership, called Camp Old Navy, between the retailer and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County. - photo by For The Times

Folding clothes, greeting customers and working a register are skills many young people learn on their first job.

Eight teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County got to try their hand at those skills Wednesday, when they acquired some hands-on work experience with Old Navy on Dawsonville Highway.

“I was so excited for them,” said Crystal Drummond, youth development professional for the club. “They learned work ethic, merchandising, teamwork, and everything went really well. I loved it.”

Dubbed “Camp Old Navy,” the training is a chance for teens to learn some tangible work skills. The retailer has teamed across the nation with the Boys & Girls Clubs for years, and each store chooses how it wants to work with the local clubs.

Drummond said the participating teens were members of small groups called Keystone Club and Torch Club, which aim to teach teamwork, morals, values, self-esteem and engagement with the community. She said for most of the teens, this was their first time gaining such work experience.

“They did super well,” said Ashley Branham, who worked with the teens alongside fellow Old Navy department specialist Sarah Martin. “We split them into two groups and had one group that was doing more of the service aspect of what we do here. We taught them how we fold clothes and put things on hangers, and then they got to do a kind of relay race too.”

The two team leaders picked out specific items in the store, Branham said, and their teams had to go and find the items in all the merchandise.

“The kids really loved that,” she said. “It made it a little more competitive.”

The second group worked on clothing displays in the baby section, which included putting together outfits on hangers and dressing little mannequins.

All of the kids were able to practice customer service, because Old Navy was open while the teens were training.

“They really got the basic knowledge, starting out, of what the job looks like,” Branham said.

Camp Old Navy is not the only partnership between the retailer and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County, however. The Old Navy store in Cumming spent weeks during the summer fundraising for the club’s Summer Brain Gain program.

“There’s been a whole #Unlimited campaign going on since the end of July,” said Chelsea Clark, event marketing coordinator for the club. “They’ve been doing it to raise money going into the Summer Brain Gain for next summer.”

Summer Brain Gain is a week of fun learning modules for kids in the Boys & Girls Clubs to prevent summer learning loss and encourage reading. This summer was the first time the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County participated in the program.

“This year they are trying to double the funds they raise so that they can facilitate even more clubs next year,” Clark said. “It’s pretty cool, and we actually had some volunteers from the Old Navy in Cumming come in over the summer to work with the kids. It’s a good partnership.”

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