PO‘IPU — The first thing students at the Camp Hyatt Career Day learned in mid-May was what to wear.
“We are wearing what today?” asked Peggy Lake, the employee training officer at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa.
There are no signs, just a big smile, and 20 faces lit up in anticipation of moving off to the various departments at the Po‘ipu resort.
Isabelle Freudig, a student at Kalaheo School, was assigned to shadow the resort’s general manager Doug Sears. She approached her task timidly, quiet and a bit shy.
“Don’t worry, it’s still early,” Sears said. “Wait until two hours from now. She’ll be wanting to hire and fire people.”
Freudig was one of the 20 students from the fifth grade class at Kalaheo and Koloa elementary schools who participated in the day-long career-shadowing event.
“We’ve been doing this for a while,” Lake said. “But we had a year, or two, where we didn’t do it, so it’s good to have it back again.”
Lake said her position was new at the Grand Hyatt and this camp was a first-time experience for her.
She was coming off a hectic weekend where she was in charge of heading up a booth for the resort at the annual Workwise Job Fair at the Kukui Grove Shopping Center. Additionally, she said she put in some time at the Extreme Job Makeover table which made the day very busy.
Students were accompanied to the event by their respective school counselors, and a pair of student recorders whose task was to work with Lake and the school counselors in following the students through their various stations.
The Camp Hyatt Career Day, celebrating its 15th year, is an annual event that highlights career opportunities in the travel and tourism industry, said Diann Hartman, the Grand Hyatt’s community relations officer, in a press release.
“Camp Hyatt Career Day exposes students to different career opportunities,” said Koloa School counselor Alison Scarbo. “But, more importantly, it allows the students to interact with other people in a setting outside of school.”
The Camp Hyatt Career Day was created in 1992 to give students a head start in a continuously growing field that currently provides more than 18 million jobs within the United States, Hartman said.
During Camp Hyatt Career Day, students from the fifth grade get to “work” in a variety of different resort positions including pastry, front desk clerk, concierge, housekeeping, restaurant host, room service attendant, chef and front door attendant.
On their arrival, students received a special T-shirt and name badges. This was a departure from previous Camp Hyatt programs where students were outfitted in down-sized versions of the uniforms worn by Grand Hyatt staff.
With Lake leading the hotel familiarization tour, the students were eager to meet their new department heads and head off in all directions on the grounds of the 50-acre resort that has 602 guest rooms.
Puamele Sagocio of Kalaheo School wore a big smile on her face as she pushed a bell cart laden with baggage.
She stopped briefly, dug into her pocket to fish out a tip that her benefactor had come out specially to present to her.
That was just one of the benefits to having hands-on experience in the different departments.
Monique Miner and Shianne Schorr were designated as the recorders for the day, walking through the different employee stations with Lake in the lead.
“I never thought I would be walking this much,” one of the girls said, surprised when one of the employees asked, “Aren’t you a ‘Miner?’”
In the culinary department, Pastry Chef Orly Yadao had Gilian Gregorio and Noelle Lovesy working to create a special chocolate amenity for returning guests to the resort.
“We look forward to this day every year, and believe that this hands-on experience is a great way to introduce kids to the many employment opportunities in this exciting field,” said Sears.
In the culinary department, Julie Langaman, Carol Cano and Leona Ruiz had to agree after being impressed by the abilities and enthusiasm of Koloa School student Liv Aguano who was busy preparing and working croutons through four bowls.
“He’s a really good boy, and he works hard,” said Langaman while the other two ladies worked to keep the student supplied with fresh packages.