Shelton’s Boys & Girls Club members go on the job

SHELTON — Members of the Keystone Club, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley’s youth leadership program, recently got a first-hand look into the world of heating and air conditioning.

The young people attended a tour at Stratford-based ENCON Heating and Air Conditioning on Dec. 20 as part of the Boys & Girls Club’s Workforce Development Initiative, a program which provides positive mentorship, skill-building, career exploration, and work experience opportunities for the Club’s youth.

The tours were led by ENCON President and Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley’s Board of Directors Vice Chair Christopher Douglas and his team.

Keystone members were introduced to employees from various departments of ENCON, watched a demonstration on how duct work is made, and watched a video about the importance of heating and cooling along with how the terms works.

The Keystone members also talked with company employees regarding their experiences in their current roles as well as their education and job training.

“Traditional college education can be beyond the reach — or interest — of our members, and the Workforce Development program gives them insight into the many other options open to them,” Shaye Roscoe, the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley chief executive officer, said.

Hearing about different paths taken in real life can be invaluable, according to Roscoe, by helping to illustrate the many ways to achieve career goals.

“Career exploration is one of the key areas of Keystoning, which goes hand-in-hand with Workforce Development, so having our teens be able to partake in a tour and demonstration at ENCON was not only a perfect match, but an unforgettable experience for them,” Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley Unit Director and Keystone Club Advisor Jennifer DeLeon said.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities like this for our Keystones to take part in, and we are grateful to Chris and his team for making it possible.” DeLeon said.

Of the experience, Douglas said that he that was impressed with “the high self-esteem and engagement” of the Keystone Club.

“I attribute this to the Club experience,” Douglas said.

Douglas also serves as the chair of the Governance Committee of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. Douglas has also led the Club’s 2021-2023 Strategic Planning session and is an active member of the Boys & Girls Club’s Alumni Association.

Douglas is also an active part of the ACE Mentor Program and founder and chairman of The Own Your Future Foundation, Inc., which he says supports people who persevere through adversity by equipping youth with the knowledge and the tools that are necessary to help them enter the workforce and to maintain gainful employment, which will undoubtedly help them to enhance their futures, and the futures of the people that are around them.

In addition to ENCON Heating and Air Conditioning, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley’s Workforce Development program is supported by the Bruce N. Griffin Trust, the George H. Gamble Trust, Newman’s Own Foundation Inc., Pitney Bowes, the Own Your Future Foundation, and the Santa Family Fund.