ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Summer School Job Training Program for Teenagers

Updated on November 26, 2021
watergeek profile image

Using her master's in sustainable development, Susette helps Southern California water agencies carry out their water conservation projects.

As sometimes happens, if a teacher is lucky, a good idea morphs into a project that works well and grows and morphs again. This is what happened with Muir Ranch in Pasadena, California.

Doss Jones, a volunteer science teacher at John Muir High School, started sounding out the idea of teaching low income students the value of eating healthy food. The idea grew into a school farm project that gave students experience in how to grow and prepare healthy food. Then it morphed into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that taught them how to package and sell food.

At the same time, a portion of the project - irrigation tech training - itself morphed into a unique student internship program, with Pasadena Water & Power paying student trainees to provide irrigation system design, repairs, and audits. The students now maintain irrigation systems for John Muir High School and 28 other schools. All this happened through a unique convergence of people and resources . . . in just a little over a year.

School Training Program - Getting Started

It all started with Doss teaming up with Mud Baron, a former contractor who had contacts and experience working with farms, and who had the energy and willingness to volunteer. They quickly found the resources they needed to start the project: John Muir High School provided an unused back field formerly housing old bungalows, Doss solicited students, Mud solicited supplies and community support, they conceptualized the program together, and it took off running.

At the same time that Mud was setting up the farm and training students, he went into the community to recruit volunteers. During one of his forays he met Bill Gaskill, a LEED certified mega-project manager, who volunteered his time to set up a large coverage, drip irrigation system. Doss recruited a team of seven engineering science students for him to work with. Shirly Barrett, Facilities Grounds Coordinator for the entire school district (shown with Bill in the video above), provided all necessary tools and supplies, and Bill began training the students in installation of drip irrigation for the farm.

Summer School Class & Jobs

By that time summer had arrived and the school had closed down. Farms don't stop growing, however, and there were students interested in continuing if they could be paid. The training went on, while the team sent out feelers for potential income for students.

Once the drip irrigation lines had been laid, tested, and programmed, Bill expanded his training to include system audits and repairs, leading to a complete training program and fully operational student irrigation team. Concurrently, Shirly connected with Pasadena Water & Power, who agreed to pay each student $600 to finish repairs on the high school and extend their services out to other schools.

This program has morphed into a full-fledged summer internship program that will likely continue until all 28 schools in the district have been audited and repaired. The seven interns are being mentored, also, by Ideal Youth Inc, a local nonprofit that helps students prepare for job hunting.

Irrigation System Training Program

The student irrigation team has a lot more to learn in this technical training program, but they are already utilizing many of the basics. Here are some of them:

Irrigation system gusher (geyser) - a sprinkler head broke off and water under pressure is shooting up into the sky.
Irrigation system gusher (geyser) - a sprinkler head broke off and water under pressure is shooting up into the sky. | Source
  • What is included in an irrigation system

  • Engineering design and optimization

  • How to operate and program a controller

  • How to turn stations on and off to troubleshoot

  • How to find the more obvious irrigation leaks

  • How to replace damaged sprinkler heads

  • How to lay drip irrigation

  • How to connect and trace wiring on sprinkler valves

  • How to prepare on-site, functional system drawings

The team has made repairs for the school already, saving them nearly 693,835 gallons of water per year in leaks, per Bill's calculations. They have found and fixed 35 gushers so far.

Benefits to High School Students

By the time students have finished this program, they will be well set up for further studies in college - agricultural science, business, or landscape design and architecture. Those who prefer not to go on to college will have the skills and confidence to apply for an apprenticeship with an established landscaper or an outdoor plumbing company. In the meantime, they'll be earning a little spending money and taking home healthy, organic food to eat, often for the first time in their lives.

Good relations with the media attracts attention, interest in helping, and often donations.
Good relations with the media attracts attention, interest in helping, and often donations. | Source

School Networking and Fundraising

One of the biggest successes of this and the community farm project is all the visibility the project/s are getting. None of the project's managers are shy about discussing its merits.

As a result, they have already developed partnerships with the local water company, the school district and its supporting educational foundation, several media outlets, local churches, city officials, and the state Department of Public Health. Through each of these outlets they are generating memberships in the CSA, donations, and further contacts and opportunities. The networking leads to greater support, but also greater responsibility, which the team is well equipped to handle.

Farming to Tech Training

From setting up drip systems for Muir Ranch to teaching students how to troubleshoot and repair an entire irrigation system, Bill Gaskill has developed a tech training program that works. The farm provides the initial training ground, the school grounds themselves provide a higher level training ground, and Pasadena Water & Power provides the ultimate training ground - funding for a well-deserved team of smart, hard-working engineering science students to exercise their new-found skills in the broader community.

Share Your Experience

What kinds of unique summer school training, job, or internship programs have you experienced? Feel free to share them in the comments below.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)