Faith in the next generation…

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There seems to be a lot of talk among the baby boomer generation about the generation of young Americans today who are just making their way in the world.

Unfortunately, the talk isn’t so good and it’s mostly about alleged lack of motivation, lack of social skills and mostly about not wanting to work, but rather playing video games and living with parents.
I’m a baby boomer too and recently retired from the professional world. In my career, I’ve worked with all kinds of young people and I still do as a commercial gardener.

From time to time I’ll see someone who fits that stereotype, but I’m here to tell you I think those who are complaining are completely off base.

As an example, two young women have been working with me side by side the past several years and either one of them or both of them, give me a lot of faith in the next generation. Their names are Abigail Kinder and Tobi Byrne.
Four years ago a young reporter for the Northern Sentry (Minot Air Force Base newspaper) was assigned to do an article about my gardening operation called North Star Farms. She was on time, was very cordial and took a lot of notes during our interview. After the story got published, I knew I couldn’t have done a better job myself. The article was precise and well written.

That was the beginning of a prosperous relationship that was taken up a notch when she volunteered to assist us at the farmers’ market. She’s in the process of joining us for her fourth year at the market.
Abigail is 26 and I’m 65 and when we work together, we tick like a clock. Her work ethic is incredible and she has a love of humor which makes us even more compatible. Her parents taught her well!

This will be my third year working with Tobi. For the past two gardening seasons, she has been with us as an intern, but is willing to continue in a greater capacity.

When I was told I was getting an intern in 2022, I was informed she was the youngest in group of eight. And yes, I considered that stereotype for a short while. It didn’t take any more than working together a day for me to realize I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

At 19 years old, she dug right in and got busy. She had a genuine interest in greenhouses and gardening, she was attentive and didn’t make mistakes. In addition, she didn’t pick up her cell phone the entire time we were working together.
Being old enough to be Tobi’s grandfather, I teased her and she gave it right back. And that’s one of the things I noticed right away, she was comfortable in that setting so I knew we would get along.

And if I had to evaluate Tobi on her work habits, I would say that she is steady, focused and is one of the most efficient people I’ve ever worked with in my adult life. Her parents taught her well!

It’s also worth noting that she and Abigail come from completely different backgrounds and they get along as if they are sisters. They very well could be. Abigail is from big city Indiana and Tobi grew up in Minot.

But these two young ladies also have jobs elsewhere. Abigail has a lot on her plate. She is the chief of community relations of the 5th Bomb Wing public affairs at Minot Air Force Base. She embraces the challenge and I’m very proud of her for that.
Tobi has two jobs right now. She works as a waitress at Olive Garden in Minot and is helping people do their taxes at H & R Block. And they’re both looking forward to getting back to gardening and farmers’ market.

I certainly look forward to working with them soon. I trust them with customers, I trust them with money, I trust them with my credit card and I trust them with my vehicles. That said, it’s easy for me to say that I know the world is in a better place because of these two young women who have both touched my life in a gargantuan way.

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