In two weeks, I plan to volunteer a week of my summer to a program called Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW)
in Williamsport Pennsylvania. If you are not familiar with PFEW, I highly recommend you take the time and meet with a recent graduate of the program. A PFEW graduate will tell you it was a life altering experience.
PFEW is a not for profit organization that brings in about 1800 sophomore and junior high school students from Pennsylvania to attend the program during one of four, week-long sessions each summer. The students are from all over the state, and many have never spent time away from home. The program separates the students into unique groups without any ties to their hometown, high school or anyone they knew before.
The Sunday registration program is perhaps one of the most entertaining portions of the experience for the Company Advisor, which is the role I fill as a volunteer. During the Sunday registration, the Company Advisors support different roles along the registration process, and you get to observe the symptoms of an untreated case of “teenager” first hand. They come in smacking gum in their jaw, wearing hats indoors and wearing inappropriate T-Shirts. Their weak handshakes and mouse like voices tell you they’re ever so shy and timid.
Company Advisors (CA’s) are assigned to a group of about 17 students. The CA’s duty is that of a mentor and guide, a discussion leader and objective listener. CA’s will introduce the students to new concepts and ideas such as corporate structure, ethics, finance, advertising, and of course to each other.
Fast forward to the following week and parents may not recognize their own child when they come for pick up. Side effects of the PFEW include new vocabulary, an interest in attending college, a desire to lead, an interest in the stock market, and of course life long memories of the experience that will have a residual impact.
I was first introduced to PFEW as a sophomore in high school. I was one of those gum smacking students who attended during the third week session in summer of 1996. I can tell you from experience that PFEW changed my life.
If you are interested in experiencing a life altering week at PFEW, check out the program online at PFEW.org. Please consider getting involved as a future Company Advisor or making a donation so a Pennsylvania student can attend this wonderful program. Keep an eye on the TS Tech Facebook page From July 27th through August 4th 2012 to learn a bit about the program and the students I will be working with during my fourth year as a PFEW Company Advisor.