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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Melina Phillips was surprised when elementary-aged children shook her hand and introduced themselves during an after-school tour of Thompson Thrift on Tuesday.

While handshakes and formal introductions are nothing new at the downtown Terre Haute business, seeing and hearing young children do it took Phillips aback.

But for Eleanor Ramseier, it’s no surprise anymore, as she and her team at Camp Navigate have been working to teach employability skills to elementary and middle school students through summer camp and after-school programs.

Camp Navigate’s first summer camp wrapped up earlier this year and had such a positive response that Ramseier, co-founder of the camp, decided to carry the program over into an after-school club of sorts.

Tuesday’s visit to Thompson Thrift is part of the group’s effort to show students firsthand what they’re being taught.

“We always tell them about these employability skills and how to be a good employee, but then we take them to businesses, especially like Thompson Thrift, and show them what two friends were able to create,” Ramseier said.

“Students learn math and science, but if they grow up and can’t keep a job because they don’t show up on time, or work together as a team and don’t learn responsibility, then employers aren’t going to keep them.”

After a tour of the pre-construction and construction facilities on the second floor of the downtown offices, the students were taken to a third-floor conference room and shown a video that cataloged the history of the full-service development and construction company and how it was built into what it is today.

Following the video, Project Manager Scott Heustis took questions from the students about his job and the construction trade, but it was a question from Heustis to the students that brought a smile to Ramseier’s face.

“Who here wants to work in the construction field when they grow up?” Heustis asked.

A number of hands shot up, including those of a few young girls in attendance.

Ramseier beamed.

“Not only did we want to impress what a great career this can be, but we especially wanted to see the girls be like, ‘Hey, we can do this too,'” Ramseier said.


Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star,


Information from: Tribune-Star,