Monday, July 27, 2015

The Great Summer Debate for Teenagers

A Weekend of Girls Lacrosse: Another beautiful week and weekend for us. The Girls John Pepper Lacrosse Tournament was held at West Genesee and was bursting at the seams with people. Both the girls and boys tournaments are run incredibly well by their organizers and both bring in dozens of college scouts and coaches as well as parents and players from all over the US. Thank you to all of the volunteers and attendees that participated this weekend.

Mark Your Calendars for the Turf Field Naming Ceremony: Please remember that we will be dedicating the turf field to the boys lacrosse coach, Mike Messere, during the Boys John Pepper Lacrosse Tournament being held on August 1. The ceremony will begin at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Arts and Crafts: This past weekend, Syracuse was bustling with about a thousand other events. My wife and I had a chance to go to the Arts and Crafts festival that was held downtown. We really enjoy viewing local artists at their finest. As we saw about half of Camillus at the festival, it looked like many of you had a great time there as well!

Raising the Wage, Starts a Debate: You might have heard that New York State is raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for fast food workers that are employed in a fast food establishment with thirty or more locations nationwide. For our area, the minimum wage needs to increase to that level by 2021. Over the past week I have read more opinions about this topic than I can count, but it is important to know that your teenage children (and maybe older) are in debate mode as well.

As I walked through summer school last week several students told me that there was no need for them to finish high school because they can just work at a fast food restaurant and make $15 per hour. They cite day care providers, nurses, soldiers, and retail workers as those who make less than $15 per hour and many of them have had to complete at least four years of college to get the jobs they have.

This is a very interesting debate. We graduate students with the skills to do whatever they want to do after high school. They leave us with the knowledge needed to go on to become bankers, lawyers, doctors, retail workers, soldiers, day care providers, nurses, fast food workers, teachers, etc. So why would we discourage a recent graduate or maybe a senior from trying to get a job in the higher wage fast food market?

The answer is more complex than you might think. When I respond to students I tell them that the economy today is tricky. There are many adults with college degrees who are working in the fast food industry because they cannot find jobs in the fields that they have been trained in. I remind them that although it continues to be difficult for students to find jobs, the likelihood of a student or recent graduate taking a $15 job away from an adult is probably unrealistic.

I cite the recent increase in minimum wage in Seattle, Washington (, as well as the immediate fallout in New York City (

I ask them what they want to do when they grow up, what things they would like to have, and how they would like to live. Most students want lives that are as good as we are giving them as parents, or better; I cannot fault them for that. I take their information and snap it into many jobs, including being a $15 per hour fast food worker, and we then discuss if they will be on target or not.

It is interesting that although it is sometimes hard to engage teenagers and young adults in conversation, they are talking about the minimum wage increase right now. Don't be afraid to join the debate, just be aware that your kids are pretty smart; so be prepared!

Have a great week.