With plenty of interest in their summer camps this year, staff from Camp Wanakita attended a Fleming Crew job fair in Haliburton April 19 “looking for talent,” according to Ketziah Rhule.

They weren’t alone as the hall was filled with employers looking to bolster their ranks for not just the summer season, but beyond. At times, there were far more people looking to hire than those looking for work.

“We have 60 openings right now at Wanakita,” Rhule said. “We have about 300 to 400 campers who come through in the summer months, so it’s a big push. We’re definitely looking for kitchen staff, maintenance and folks that are licensed as lifeguards.”

One advantage Wanakita has is staff housing. However, Rhule said it’s still hard to find workers. For example, she said there is a Canada-wide shortage of lifeguards.

Asked why she thinks that is, Rhule halfjokingly said, “kids are much better at being YouTube stars … influencers … and it makes money.”

However, she thought attending the job fair was worthwhile.

“Hopefully it’s awareness, hopefully we can build connections with the college and with the community and hopefully we can get our jobs filled.”

Job seeker Kylie Brohm, 18, attended the fair as she is looking for a second job to save up for college and prepare for a career. She’s been working at The Independent bakery throughout high school.

She came, “just to see what was around Haliburton instead of looking online … being in-person, getting to talk to people … get your face out there.”

She is fortunate that she has her own car and lives with her parents, so housing and transportation are not current challenges.

Interested in travel and helping people and animals, care-giving type jobs appeal and she picked up an application for Gardens of Haliburton.

When asked why more young people don’t appear to be looking for work, she said her generation has finished high school and early career years during a global pandemic.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get out there and want to talk to people based on how things go. It’s a scary place in the world especially having COVID during a lot of the years that people would be developing and getting into jobs. A lot of my friends struggle with wanting to get out there and getting to know what’s out there because they’ve been kept inside.”

She added, “I’d say we want to work. It’s just we don’t want to work the way we’ve seen our parents work. It depends how you want to live your life. I like switching it up sometimes. I took two months off and just got myself a little better. I had to get my health right and whatnot.”