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Getting a Glimpse

Getting a Glimpse

When I was a preteen I was always looking for some kind of paying job.  I can’t remember what I needed the money for, other than my well documented candy obsession, but making my own money was always a big deal to me.  The trouble was that early employment was hard to find and my main source of income was babysitting.  But I wanted to get out into the world more and somehow convinced a local pharmacist to hire me on to help out in his store.  He didn’t pay me in cash, but I was allowed to take home big boxes of the Whitman candy samplers he sold so it was a win for everyone.

I think I was lucky, because I don’t see an opportunity for today’s youth to have that type of experience.  Getting that early glimpse of how a small business owner ran his pharmacy had a positive effect on me, so I was very interested when I learned about a program the foundation funds that connects students to glimpses of post-secondary education and the business world in Southwest Florida.

As I close out this series of columns on stories I hear from the field, told in the words of storytellers themselves, the dynamic duo of Anne Frazier, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida and Shannon Lane, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Lee County recently shared their “Camp Pride” story.  Although these two organizations announced a national partnership in 2013, locally they have been working together for years.

“Camp Pride is a unique program that allows students from the Boys & Girls Club to learn about personal finances, budgeting, workforce development, ethics, 21st century skills and the impact of education. But the experience doesn’t end there.

In addition to skill building the students are able to job shadow administrators at Southwest Florida College and learn about the different studies offered, spend time at the Fort Myers Harley Davidson Store, and explore the tourism industry at the Holiday Inn Bell Tower.   For most of these students it is their first time on a college campus and interacting with local professionals. They normally don’t get this type of opportunity.   We really see students make a connection between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world.  Their enthusiasm when we visit some of the college programs is overwhelming.

We are very proud of the growth we witness in the young men and women who participate in Camp Pride.    Working together we are able to inspire our young people to own their economic success, plan for their futures and make smart academic and economic choices.”

Sounds like all that is missing is a big box of chocolate for their efforts!

If you would like to learn more about the Camp Pride experience, or other opportunities to support the innovative programs funded by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation please email me at [email protected]

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation has been supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Glades, Hendry, and Collier counties since 1976. With assets over $75 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $57 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. For more information, please call 274-5900, or visit our web site at


Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More