Kicking Horse Job Corps Center, the future of the US youths

By Amema Saeju (Mimi)

As usual we all had to get up early today to get ready for the today long program at Kicking Horse Job Corps Center. I got up at 6 am and dressed up, greeted all the animals that belong to my temporary neighbor, they were including horses, two little calf, Miss Ginger (a dog) and Miss Kitty (a lovely grumpy cat). I greeted them everyday since I moved to stay with my best and beloved stranger named Marie Hirsch. She hosted me as my first host family; Billie Lee was away for a few days. I really had a good time with Marie; we shared our life story, family, personal, and society, etc. which was sometimes filled with tears and most of the time with smiles and laughter. I got a very good food every morning prepared by her and she even cooked for my dinner sometimes (except yesterday evening because I had my leftover food from the Chinese-American restaurant). Thank you so much to Marie for her hospitality!

I started my day at around 7.40 am when Jann and Yong came to collect me from Marie’s house and we headed to Kicking Horse. (You wont believe that we all expected to see a horse there because of its name but unfortunately there was only a statue of a horse there).

When I and Yong and others arrived at the center, we looked around and seeing many young people sitting and smoking at the “Designated Smoking Area”. And next to that area there was a teenage couple kissing each other within the vocational training center. Of course I and some of my friends got a kind of culture shocked with that and started to share some of our opinions to each other. I asked about this to one of the ladies at this center and she shared her opinion on this “Public Display Affection or PDA is common here but unacceptable” and again when we all were about to finish the center tour there was another girl student and boy student kissing each other in front of us. I understand they were boyfriend and girlfriend and they need to say goodbye to do their own businesses but kissing as a mean to say goodbye in the vocational training center was a bit of second shocked to me and perhaps to some of my friends too.

Anyway, a newly elected director of the center, John was the one who welcomed us at this center. He introduced us to the significant point of having this center for the US youth who needs help and an opportunity to develop their life. John has mentioned to us about the core values of Kicking Horse Job Corps.

– Accountability

– Integrity

– Respect

– Safety

I was impressed by one of his sayings during the introduction to the center. “Do the right thing although no one is watching”.

Kicking Horse Job Corps was established in the 1970, currently there are about 177 students 70 staff with 7 vocations;

– Equipment Repair,

– Equipment operation,

– Culinary art,

– Maintenance,

– Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA),

– Dental program and

– Pharmacy

We started the study tour by visiting the HEO (Heavy Equipment Operation). It was a bit hard for many of us to understand the technical terms on this particular issue but it was so wonderful to see how young American students were getting use to that huge equipment and the way they tried to explain to us was very impressive. We got one young girl who was about 16 year old, she led us to many different buildings. She explained to me while walking with her that she was the youngest girl who is dealing with this huge machine and much later she took us to another bigger area where there were many young American boys and girls were practicing driving a huge tractor. After that she led us to the carpentry section and we met with another lovely boy who took us around the carpentry building. This boy told me that he would like to be a carpenter when he finished his study here.

The next station was at Medical Assistant. We met with many girl students who were studying there and again we all were in a difficult situation because we did not know much about human body and organs but we got one girl who was very kind to us, she explained and demonstrated slowly to let us understand what she was trying to explain. We even used our mobile phone to search for a particular word.

At around 11 am the girl from Medical Assistant took us to the center cafeteria and we really had a great lunch there (Buffet style). Today lunch was treated by the center. After having lunch we got to talk to some young men who were the “Iron Chef” of the cafeteria. They explained that the food here is free for the students and what really makes their foods so special and tasty is to have “passion in cooking and get the sense of self in the kitchen”

After lunch we went to the Pharmacy station, the student dorms, the math class, to other classes and to different administration sections.

We all ended the day by celebrating one of our friends birthday from Cambodia at the Out West Grill. (44). I think I have found and tasted real American foods!


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