Opinion | Youth carriers are the unsung heroes of the paper

At lower left on this page, you’ll find the Record’s masthead, which names the people responsible for putting together the paper in your hands. What’s missing from that list are the unsung heroes of the paper trade: The dozens of carriers, teens and adults among them, who hit the streets weekly in every kind of weather to ensure it comes to the reader.

Valley springs are serious affairs. With my tongue firmly in cheek, I’ve noticed that lately, local winters have dragged into midsummer. With all that weather to contend with, good carriers show their worth by making sure that papers get to our customers in readable condition, despite all the rain, snow, wind, ice, floods, and other obstacles of nature. We ask a lot of our carriers.  To them I say, thank you for all that you do.

Our delivery has come a long way in the two years since we began home delivery, with much credit due to the Record’s circulation manager, Patricia Hase, and her efforts on behalf of our small army of delivery carriers, instilling a customer service mindset.

We started the youth carrier program here to help young people build their work ethic and job potential. It’s actually cheaper to hire adults to drive the paper around, but we wanted to make sure the dominant percentage of our carriers are in middle or high school. While the pay is modest, the opportunity helps Valley youth develop entrepreneuralism, follow-through, the importance of customer service and getting to know their neighborhood and the community at large.

Once a month, we recognize the fine people who fling you the paper, with a Carrier of the Month spotlight in our pages. We plan to do more.

Recently, the Valley Record started a Youth Carrier Scholarship program to reward and inspire our young team members. Scholarships can be used for college, or trade and vocational tech training.

Applicants need to have spent a year, at the least, as a carrier, be between 15 and 18 years old, with a minimum grade-point average of 2.7. They also need to perform well, have few complaints and get a recommendation from a community member, neighbor or teacher.

In this first round, the application also included an essay, which asked young people to think about the impact that they make on their communities, and the lessons they’ve learned from their route.

Scholarships prove to sthe families of our carries that we understand the hard choices being made in these economic times, and that the newspaper has faith in the successful contribution our youth carriers will grow to make.

The first carrier scholarship recipients will be announced very soon. Later this year, we will begin the application process for the scholarship’s second selection. We are also seeking local business sponsors to help us build up the awards.

You can help. To learn more or help sponsor a scholarship, contact Patricia Hase at phase@soundpublishing.com or e-mail Publisher William Shaw at wshaw@valleyrecord.com.


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