Lackland Air Force Base, Texas –
A McDonald's program recently taught six Lackland students from Stacey High School the value of flipping a smile.
Camp Mickey D's is a free, weeklong career and technology program designed to introduce students to the workplace and help them apply their textbook concepts to the work environment.
In a press release from McDonald's, Sybel Pici, Camp Mickey D's developer and local McDonald's owner/operator, said: "Because Camp Mickey D's focuses on developing basic work skills and understanding dynamics in the workplace, students build a strong and confident work ethic suitable for any career they choose to pursue. Our goal is to help students understand the fundamental relevance between what they learn in the classroom and what they practice at any job, and to help those without previous work experience ease into the transition between school and the workplace."
For camp participant Brittany Trigg who has never held a job in the workplace, Camp Mickey D's has helped teach her how to work.
"We talked a lot about people skills and how to treat customers," said the 15-year-old rising junior at Stacey High School. "We were told to smile a lot and try to make the customer's day happier."
That philosophy carried over to employees' treatment of one another.
"I wasn't expecting everyone to be so friendly," she said. "At first I thought (the camp) would be scary, but everyone there treated us like family."
Ms. Trigg is the daughter of Nanette and Staff Sgt. D.J. Trigg, 37th Medical Group.
According to the press release, a number of students that graduate from Camp Mickey D's are hired at local McDonald's restaurants and, because of the camp training, earn a higher starting pay and have the opportunity to advance more quickly as their performance improves.
Marcus Ware, a rising sophomore at Stacey High School who took part in the camp at the McDonald's on 6921 West Military from June 4-8, said he, too, is looking for his first job. Like Ms. Trigg, he's already submitted an employment application at McDonald's and hopes to hear something soon.
For Mr. Ware, the Camp Mickey D's opened his mind to the human side of the business.
"There's a lot of stereotypes about people who work (in the fast-food industry)," said Mr. Ware, who admits to falling prey to the behavior. "But they are normal people just trying to make a living. ... There's so much more to them than just flipping hamburgers."
Mr. Ware is the son of Tracie and Tech. Sgt. Mark Ware. Sergeant Ware is assigned to the 345th Training Squadron.
The camp, which just completed its 10th year, emphasizes teamwork, hospitality, safety in the workplace, problem solving, business profitability, cleanliness and food safety measures.
More than 100 students attended the camp from five area school districts, including the Lackland Independent School District.