Welcome to Camp Old Navy, a summer tradition that more than 60,000 campers have experienced over the years in North America.
I recently got to attend Camp Old Navy myself in Emeryville, California, where kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland spent the day with store employees and members of the Gap Inc. employee resource group AANG (African American Networking Group), which has a long-standing relationship with the nonprofit and the program.
The camps are held by stores around the United States and Canada through Aug. 23, which partner with local nonprofits. It gives underserved teens between the ages of 12 to 18 a chance to get a "behind-the-scenes" look at what it’s like to have a job in retail. It’s all about hands-on experience in handling everything from backroom apparel shipments to working the sales floor and the cash registers. This year, more than 700 stores hosted Camp Old Navy events with 4,000 employees volunteering their time.
Store Manager Missy Fehlman and other sales associates took time out to teach “campers” the ropes, like how portions of the store are put together (it involves a lot legwork and pre-planning by various teams which culminates in a guidebook that literally lays it all out) and the need to give customers a proper “Old Navy” greeting.
Working the registers was a big draw thanks to the allure of being able to use the price-scanning gun. And when it came time to put together dream outfits, campers were off and running because really, who doesn’t like to shop?
The most inspirational comment of the day was hearing 14-year-old Mayloni Despanie point out that “You can actually have fun while working.”
Here are a couple of pics I snapped during my day at Camp Old Navy: