Going to Girl Scout Camp doesn’t always mean exploring the outdoors! How about going to a camp that involves shopping plus learning about a career?! That’s what some of our teen girls recently did when they attended Camp Old Navy.
Camp Old Navy is a partnership between Gap Inc. (Old Navy’s parent company) and local youth development programs. The program brings teens into Old Navy stores for a half-day job shadow experience that helps them develop job readiness skills and explore career opportunities. These young women get to experience firsthand what it’s like to work in retail and to try out new experiences like searching for merchandise using a retail computer system and learning how to work a cash register to make transactions, all in a supportive, educational environment.
A Day on the Job
Young women from various troops got to spend the day learning the ins and outs of the popular retail chain at an Old Navy store in Lakewood this summer. They learned about what it’s like to have a job in apparel retail through a behind the scenes look at the nitty gritty of actually working in a store. By working the sales floor alongside actual employees, girls were able to experience hands-on training in retail management, sales and merchandising. Just like regular employees, the teens were expected to learn the specifics of how “their” store worked and was laid out, as well as learn a little about what the company expects from its employees and how it wants its stores run.
What goes into making some of your favorite stores run? Campers got to see how it all works by splitting into groups that rotated through three different sessions throughout the day. Girl Scouts had the opportunity to work the cash registers, run the fitting rooms and RAD the store. “Ask any of the girls what RAD means and they’ll tell you right away: Ready All Day!” said Amber Sharpe, Merchandising Specialist and Event Coordinator for Lakewood Old Navy. In addition, the teens learned about loss prevention and the customer service values of the company (Did you know Old Navy refers to their customers as “Jenny, Mike and the kids!?”).
Playing Dress Up Can Be A Challenge!
What do you think was the girls’ favorite part of camp? Outfitting the mannequins! The teens got to show off their own personal style by choosing unique summer fashions for their mannequin as part of a contest. They created a scenario for their mannequin so they could pick out an outfit, then they described the specifics that made up their outfit (ex: type of shirt, pant and accessories) when they presented their character’s look to the rest of the campers. “I asked the girls to give details; where is their character wearing the outfit- to and for what? How much did it cost?” said Amber. The teens had to really think about making an outfit that was trendy and something people would want to wear when they then presented it to the group and judges (fellow Old Navy employees). Of course, these young women were excited to get to pick out the perfect outfit and design the look just how they wanted it, but they soon learned that dressing a mannequin isn’t as easy as it looks! “Just handling the mannequins is challenging and they could see the work that goes into the visual of it all,” explained Amber. In the end, everyone pulled their mannequin’s look together and showed off their individual style.
Camp Old Navy’s purpose is to offer young women job readiness, helping teen girls prepare for entering the work force. “They got to see the passion we have for our business and all of the little things that make the store operate,” added Amber. Old Navy staff wants teens to walk away from this experience knowing that working at Old Navy can be a lot of fun. It can be a great first job opportunity that these young women can turn into a career. “We take pride in our brand and our products,” said Amber. “Staff gets to wear their passion, which is a mission of ours.”
Lesson Learned: It’s More Than Just Folding Clothes
This is Lakewood Old Navy’s first year partnering with Girl Scouts for this camp. Old Navy designed this camp a few years ago for youth organizations, and thought it would be a good fit for Girl Scouts because they felt the job relation training would cross over into achievements for girls and would support the goals of preparing girls for adulthood. They were right!
After being a part of Camp Old Navy girls can apply their experience to a whole set of potential badges. Did you know Girl Scouts can earn badges for things like running a business and attaining financial literacy? These teens’ retail work experience as part of Camp Old Navy can set them on their way to earning these types of badges!
Are you interested in a career in fashion, retail, sales or merchandising? During Camp Old Navy, Girl Scouts got to see that there’s more to working there than just folding clothes. Just look at Old Navy/GAP’s career opportunities that showcase how many different roles girls could apply for where their experience at Camp Old Navy would be relevant. All of the campers got to see how Old Navy operates to fulfill the needs of the business, and learned how every employee is essential to the company’s success. Once camp finished each young lady got the chance to pick out a pair of their own summer flip flops to take home, so they could celebrate their summer style while remembering the skills and experiences they learned at Camp Old Navy!