Interviewer: Jean McMillen
John C. Bartram Interview:
This is file 108. Today’s date is Sept. 12, 2015, I am interviewing John Bartram. He is going to talk about the Summer Youth Program. I believe this is his first year doing the summer Youth Program. This is Jean McMillen. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
JB:My name is John Bartram.
JM:Do you have a middle name?
JB: Yes, it is Christopher.
JM:Where were you born?
JB:Stafford springs, Ct.
JB:April 2m 2001
JM:Your parents’ names?
JB:Heather Bartram and Brian Bartram
JM:Do you have siblings?
JB:Yes, one brother Jim Bartram.
JM:How did you learn about the Summer Youth work Program>
JB:I learned about it from when my brother went through it.
JM:He was the guinea pig.
JM:what did you have to do in order to apply?
JB:I had to get a recommendation from somebody. I also had to send in the application.
JM:Did you have an application form which you had to fill out?
JM:Where did you get the application form?
JB:Town Hall I believe.
JM:I think the instructions were very specific about a deadline when you had to send it in.
JM:Were there specific instructions about whether you could just drop it off or whether you had to mail it?
JB:I do not remember.
JM:On the application form what did they ask you?
JB:They asked information about me, my name, address, where I went to school and my age.
JM:You are doing fine. On the application did they have any choice of work sites or did that come later?
JB:They had a list of the different work sites where you could work at. You got to pick one and hoped that you would get it.
JM:Did you have more than one choice when you filled out the application. Did you make more than one choice?
JM:What were some of the work sites that were listed? I know about the Grove and I know about your father at the transfer station. Were there others?
JB:Yeah, they had the transfer station, working for Jackie and Rhonda doing the swim team, working for the town at the Grove for maintenance, working at the school for maintenance, teaching tennis, teaching sailing, kayaking, and paddleboard.
JM:There was quite a variety.
JM:Now when you made your choice of work sites, did you actually get what you wanted?
JB:Yes, I did. It was swim lessons with Jackie (Rice Ed.) and Rhonda (Rinninsland Ed.).
JM:Was there a formal introductory meeting where everybody got together to go over the rules and regulations and that sort of thing?
JB:Yes, there was.
JM:Do you remember where that was?
JB:That was at the school.
JM:By the school you mean Salisbury Central School?3.
JM:Do you remember any of the rules or regulations that were talked about?
JB:You had to dress appropriately for just about every one of the other jobs sites because you had to wear shoes and appropriate clothing for public, but for me I just had to just show up.
JM:You were doing swim lessons which is a little different than working out in the public where you would have to be in trousers and shirt and shoes and socks.
JM:At that introductory meeting were there any forms that had to be filled out like a W2?
JB:Yes there were.
JM:Anything other than a W2 form?
JB:There was a packet of forms; we just went through them together filling out whatever information. There were people there to help us because we really didn’t know what we were doing.
JM:This was a learning experience to fill out forms and it was probably the first time that you had done something like this so that you were made comfortable by having someone that could coach you through it.
JM:What were some of the responsibilities that you had as a swim instructor and swim team assistant? We had to make sure the kids didn’t drown; that was pretty big. We would have to hold the younger kids to make sure that they did not have their heads go under water. We had to pull some of the kids through the water when they were not working as hard.
JM:When we talked before you told me that there was a specific way of pulling someone out of the water without hurting them.
JB:Yes, you would reach down and grab their wrist and they would grab your wrist and then you just lift up with that arm.
JM:What if they were heavy?
JB:You would have to do that with both arms.
JM:Do you have an idea of how many people were at that first meeting?
JB:Around 18 or so.
JM:Boys and girls?4.
JB:Yes. Like you only had to go to that meeting if it was your first year doing the program.
JM:So there would be other kids in the program that had perhaps were in their second or third year?
JM:At your work site did you like your supervisor?
JB:I liked both of them. Jacqui and Rhonda I have known for years because I have been taking swimming lessons and swim team.
JM:Was that part of the reason why you chose that particular work site?
JM:Because you knew them, and obviously you knew what you would be doing. How many kids were you responsible for or did you work with?
JB:The first week or two we didn’t have that many kids at swim lessons maybe 5 per lesson for maybe 6 lessons, but then once EXTRAS started we had a lot more kids and a lot more to do. Then maybe we had 15 kids for class.
JM:That is a good amount. In a lake you are not in a good controlled environment like you would be in a swimming pool so you really have to keep your eye on what you are doing. Did you like working with young children?
JB:Yes, it was fun. They really seemed to like me.
JM:I can understand that, but that makes a great deal of difference because if you like your instructor or your teacher, it makes it go much easier, coming at it from another angle. How many weeks did the program that you were in last?
JB:It lasted 5 weeks but then after that there was another week of kids taking lessons.
JM:You volunteered for that week, or part of that week?
JM:Did you ever have an occasion where you couldn’t go to work and you had to explain?
JB:I was late once to work because…
JM:You didn’t have any transportation?
JM:Was that an issue? Was it made a big deal out of or was it something that was understood?
JB:It was understood. I missed one session for the youngest kids. One of the kids came up to me after it and was like, “You weren’t there and I missed you!”
JM:Good point. That is nice. Did you get paid for this?
JM:How many hours a week did you work?
JB:20 hour a week was what we were getting paid for, realistically we worked maybe 25 per week.
JM:You were getting minimum wage, correct.
JB:I believe so.
JM:What is it now $8.50?
JB:I think it is 9 something.
JM:How did you get paid? Did you get paid every week or every other week?
JB:I got paid for the first 2 weeks after the third week and I got paid for the third week after the fourth week, and then I got paid for the rest in the mail after or during the 6th week.
JM:Did you get cash or a check?
JB:I got a check.
JM:Did you learn anything from going through the program?
JB:I learned some business experience. I also learned how to manage my money better from Jackie and Rhonda. They gave me some advice. (When we talked before he also mentioned being on time for things. Ed.)
JM:How about social skills in working with the children?
JB:Yes I learned a great deal there.
JM:Did you have any “bratty” kids that were a problem?
JB:Yes and I saw your quotes there. Some of the kids didn’t really want to be swimming or didn’t feel comfortable swimming. They would put their hands in the sand and swim that way, using their arms on the ground.
JM:That’s clever. Were there any children that really didn’t want to go into the water at the beginning of the program that did get into the water and enjoy it?
JM:Oh good. Was that because of your expertise or was it because that the three of you working with them?
JB:A little bit of my expertise.
JM:I would think so.
JB:I had to make a deal with them that we would play after the end of the lesson a little bit, like I would drag them through the water or they would jump off my back.
JM:It is a good technique to bargain. I used to use it; it works and everybody wins on that kind of a situation. Would you go through the program again?
JB:Yes, I would, but I believe that I am moving away.
JM:Possibly to Canaan and they have a different program.
JB:Yes, but I shall either try to that program or I’ll life guard at their pool or at the Grove.
JM:Did you have to take any first aid or water safety requirements for this particular job that you were doing?
JB:No but we always have had one person, at least one person who is certified as a life guard or EMT. Jackie and Rhonda are both EMTs and usually one of them was there. Two of our other assistants, which is what I was doing, had life guard training.
JM:Looking at the program that you went through from beginning to end, is there anything that you would suggest to make it better?
JB:I would prefer more money! But that is not realistic because it is all from donations. It was really good. I liked it.
JM:Was there a meeting at the end of the program for everyone to talk about their experiences or did you do your individual summation alone?
JB:I don’t believe that there was, but I was off camping at the end.
JM:Did you think an end of session meeting would help or not to talk about shared experiences?
JB:It could help but not all the people would show up most likely. They would probably prefer to just be at the Grove with their friends.
JM:You made a good point which I appreciate the fact that you realize this is all public donations. It is not a government program; it is not a state program; it is not a town program. It is funded individually so that is one of the reasons why there is a limit the number of students that can participate and the amount of pay that you get. Was there anything that you would add to this interview about the program that I haven’t asked?
JB:No, you were very thorough.
JM:I try to be. Thank you very much for your information and your time.