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Essex Heritage has built a strong summer youth employment and training program through a unique partnership with the National Park Service. The program is directed towards youth ages 14-20 years. The teens are hired to work at the two national park sites in Salem and Saugus and since 2015 the program has been expanded to include Bakers Island Light Station as well as many of our partners such as Appleton Farms in Ipswich—a working farm owned and operated by The Trustees of Reservations, the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, and Camp Dennison in Georgetown.
Essex Heritage hires the youth for 8 -12 weeks and they work under the guidance and of NPS staff and a central supervisor from Essex Heritage. On site and at the parks, they acquire skills in historic preservation, building maintenance, natural resource management, interpretation and visitor operations. The Future Leaders also gain valuable trade experience in carpentry, electricity, shipwrighting, signmaking, and gilding. For many of these students this is their first job experience, so they are also given assistance on how to prepare for work, work-place expectations, discipline, proactivity, resume preparation, and career development. The impact on these students’ lives has been substantial, and several have returned to work at the park during the fall and also in subsequent summers. Our Future Leaders truly embody the concept of thinking globally and acting locally.