The Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau teamed up with the Board of Education and Snowshoe Mountain Resort to put on the 28th annual Eighth Grade Business Luncheon at the Snowshoe Mountain Lodge March 10.
The overall theme presented to the Marlinton Middle and Green Bank Middle School students was to widen their eyes to see what lies in front of them as they begin high school next year and in their futures beyond that. Representatives of many area businesses attended the luncheon, sitting with and conversing with the students, while enjoying a delicious lunch, provided by the resort.
There were three breakout sessions during the event, by Mikey Valach with Snowshoe Resort, Monongahela National Forest District Ranger Cynthia Sandeno and Chelsea Faulknier, who works with the CVB. The Keynote Speaker was Danny Flores, a business entrepreneur in Marlinton.
Valach told the students about job opportunities available in Pocahontas County and at Snowshoe Resort, telling them they can start working at Snowshoe when they are 16 years old if they get a work permit. He said the jobs at the resort they could qualify for would include retail sales, lifeguard, front desk clerk, operations jobs on the mountain, ski school and rental techs. He said part-time employees’ starting pay is $12 per hour and includes benefits such as paid time off, discounts at retail stores and a free season pass.
“There are some good jobs in Pocahontas County,” Valach said. “I think there’s this persona that there are no good jobs in Pocahontas County and you can’t make a good living here. That’s completely wrong, I have a good job, and I live here.”
Sandeno talked about bats and a career as a Wildlife Biologist. She started by telling them about the different species of bats and how helpful they are in eliminating dangerous insects such as mosquitos. She said bats are the only mammals that can fly. She asked them to educate people about the benefits of bats.
“To be a Wildlife Biologist,” Sandeno said, “you definitely need a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s is really recommended. The things you need to focus on – science, math, GIS – a really critical skill – and communications skills: writing and being able to talk to people and in front of people is extremely important.”
Faulknier talked to the students about the value of volunteering. She said they should consider volunteering, not only because it makes them feel good about helping in the community, but it will also help them meet community service volunteer hours which may be required to join groups like the National Honor Society. Listing those volunteer positions on college or job applications will look impressive and will “set you apart.”
“You are also going to create connections with adults and folks who are maybe going to be mentors to you,” Faulknier told them. “Or maybe they could be your employer one day.”
Flores, owner of the Old Mountain Tavern, provided a motivational talk about achieving success. He challenged them to be the best version of themselves every day. To set goals and achieve them by writing them down, measuring their progress in achieving them and reviewing them often.
“You are only as good as your habits,” Flores told them. “So, if you have bad habits, you’re going to have bad results. You guys understand that? Your habits create who you are.”