CONCORD (CBS 5) – Getting a summer job without experience may be a challenge in the current economy. As a result, many teens are paying for their first on-the-job experience.

Programs across the Bay Area are training teens how to become camp counselors, for a fee. Thirteen-year-old Keani Lastra said she recently signed up with the Concord Community and Recreation Center. But instead of getting paid, Lastra paid $360 for the program.

According to Recreational Manager Derek Schweigart, the fee is used to operate the six-week program where teens work side by side with experienced counselors. Just like a real job, teens need to apply and go through an interview process.

“Eventually it prepares them for a job that they could actually get a paid position with the city as a day camp counselor,” Schweigart said.

According to career and education advisor Marty Nemko, these programs can offer teens the opportunity to develop leadership skills and coordination skills they wouldn’t get otherwise.

“This is a legitimate way to get a leg up and that’s something I’m very supportive of,” Nemko said.


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