Youthworks! blog: Z’s journey

Posted by Idaho Youth Ranch on Jul 7, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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One of the first things you’ll notice about Z * is her very shy demeanor, but she hasn’t let that define who she is or what she wants to be: a designer for clothing supergiant, Adidas.

As one of the youngest members of the Youthworks! this summer (she will be a junior in high school come fall), Z says she wanted to be a part of the program in order to gain experience in money management, entrepreneurship and the overall concept of what it takes to run a business, things that will help her build her own brand in the future.

Z plans on taking a gap year after high school to get real-life experience under her feet. She’s already thinking about what a college education will cost her and is beginning to make conscious decisions in order to put herself on the best possible path. She plans on attending a community college to get her required courses completed for less than if she went straight to a four year university.


In her first two weeks working in the store, Z learned how to hang clothes, dress a mannequin and pair outfits with accessories.

Next week, Z will be trained on how to ring customers up at the register, a task she’s not quite sure she is looking forward to due to her shyness.

In her own words, Z says she’s not a very social person, but hopes that by pushing herself out of her comfort zone and interacting with customers more often will help her break out of her shell.


A look of relief comes over Z as she begins to talk about her week working the cash register.

In the span of one day, Z had three different incidents occur:

  • A fight between customers over a computer, which led to the police being called
  • A customer who brought his dog into the store without a service animal vest and gave employees an attitude when they told him only service dogs are allowed in the store
  • A customer who belittled her for handing back the wrong change

As she is describing each event in detail, she does so in more of a storytelling manner as opposed to a terrified, I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it tone that was expected after such a trying day.

Though she says she doesn’t particularly want to work on the cash register again, it is obvious how much she has grown in confidence. She has taken these events and turned them into learning tools to better handle similar situations should they arise.

Next week, Z will learn how to accept, process and sort donations at one of our busiest drop off locations. She says she is excited to learn something new, but is worried about how busy she will be and how to handle customers when they get upset at not being able to drop off specific items (mattresses, broken furniture, etc.).


Her initial fear of donors getting upset over not being able to donate certain items was found to be all for nothing. Z says everyone who came through the donation drop-off this week was friendly and understanding.

She says though she is still learning what items can and cannot be donated, she is getting into a rhythm. The hardest part has been learning how to multitask: writing donation receipts while monitoring what is being donated.

Z says her store management is awesome, making sure employees working in the sun stay hydrated, even stocking Otter Pops as a way to cool down.

This week, Z also began learning how to price items. She, like many other Youthworks! employees, is very worried about overpricing products.

Next week, Z will be on ‘hardline’ duty. She will process, sort and arrange displays of everything from vases to picture frames to bowls. Her manager says she has a great eye for aesthetically-pleasing displays.

To learn more about our Youthworks! summer program, click here.

Topics: Youthworks, Programs and Services