Food services are returning to the Campbell River Airport and the cafeteria will serve as a hands-on classroom for local students.
Students from the ACE-IT culinary program for high school students, as well as continuing education and special education students are all expected to help run the kitchen and serve hungry customers.
“Providing café services to airport clients has the potential to teach local students numerous work and life skills,” says Tom Longridge, School District 72 superintendent. “This opportunity also allows the district to expand our vocational education opportunities.”
Timberline teacher Diana Camerin, and project manager, said for the special education students, the program will be a valuable life skills tool.
“It will be good for them to be in the kitchen and learn how to clean, how to make a cup of coffee, to check the temperature on the fridge and the oven,” Camerin says.
Her vision is to also have guest chefs from local restaurants featured in the cafeteria.
“We hope to have enough of a guest chef presence that people from the community would come for lunch,” Camerin says. “We want it to be a community thing.
“The project’s not just about us.”
She also hopes to include students from Robron Learning Centre as well as First Nations to make traditional bannock, complete with a story tag explaining the importance of the bread to the First Nations culture.
In the same vein, Camerin hopes to educate visitors that come through the airport. Her vision is to have the students not only work in the cafeteria but also to meet and greet travellers and be the first point of contact.
“We want them to act as ambassadors,” Camerin says.
“We want them to meet and greet people as they come into the airport and get them whatever they need, whether it be a map or make a call and to talk to people about Campbell River and tell them what they like about it.
“While the students are out here they will be a point of contact, like a tourist information centre.”
When the students are not greeting the tourists, they will be slaving away in the kitchen.
Students will work one of two shifts – either 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. – starting the first week of January.
Under an agreement between School District 72’s newly-formed Campbell River Educational Services Society non-profit and the city, students – who will all have their Food Safe requirements – will be tasked with coming up with a menu for the cafeteria, cooking and serving the food.
Susan Sinnott, chair of the Airport Authority, said the agreement will benefit both the students as well as travellers.
“The Campbell River Airport Authority is very pleased with this agreement that will meet the popular request for café operations at the airport and provide opportunities for young people in our community to expand their skills and reach out to travellers to promote the many great things Campbell River has to offer,” Sinnott says. “We look forward to seeing this grow into a successful enterprise.”
Camerin says at the beginning, food choices will be limited to coffee and baked goods but the goal is to expand to serving soups, chili, wraps and sandwiches, depending on the volume of people using the cafeteria.
Camerin has worked out deals with Aroma Coffees on Quadra Island, Van Houtte coffee, Stonehouse Teas, and Flurer Smokery to feature those products in the cafeteria.
Students will also be busy filling display cases around the airport with their work from various local schools, as well as keeping the cases open to local businesses to feature their products.
The final piece of the project will involve the high school media team which will send out a video crew to film what’s going on at the airport and around the community.
Camerin hopes to show those videos on screens at the airport.
She also hopes that the airport project is just the first of many business-minded school programs to come.
As a not-for-profit society, the Campbell River Educational Services Society already has a five-member board and plans to launch other business model enterprises in the future.