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Having grown up in the small town of Hampton, New Brunswick (with a population of 4,000), 18-year-old Kate Coleman has long appreciated the beauty of the town’s natural environment – with its plentiful green spaces, walking trails and the waters of the Kennebecasis River. She also appreciates how the municipality has augmented the natural attractions with cultivated displays of flowers and plants, large hanging floral baskets in the core of the town, and well-groomed public properties.

Town of Hampton, NB

Her appreciation for the work done by the Town of Hampton’s Leisure Services division helped motivate her to apply for a position as a Horticultural Assistant, beginning in the summer of 2021.

“The beautification of Hampton has always been a priority, and the Town has great crews that dedicate themselves to maintaining beautiful spaces all year round,” Kate says. “New families are moving to Hampton, and it always attracts visitors, and one reason is that the town always looks its best.”

One of the Town Of Hamptons beautiful Canna Lily pots that were located at the River Centre and Town Hall all season long

Kate was attracted to the idea of assisting and learning from the municipality’s senior horticulturalist, Alex Eaton, and other Leisure Services personnel who plant and maintain flowers and work in the municipal greenhouse. “I have always had a green thumb for gardening,” she says. “Both my grandmothers always had beautiful gardens that I admired, and when they offered me this job and mentorship I was looking forward to learning a lot.”

The municipality was able to hire Kate for the position thanks to funding from the CPRA Youth Employment Experience program, which supports municipalities and non-profit organizations to hire young people in parks and recreation positions.

Kate had a varied array of job experiences in the position. She helped staff put together their flower order for the next year, did some maintenance work on trails, and later in the fall, decorated the town with lights for the holiday season and built some new components for a Christmas village set up each year in the town square.

In addition to learning from the horticulture staff, Kate also received mentorship from Kevin Breau, the town’s Leisure Services Facility Manager.

“As a mentor, I try to instill the importance of being on time for work, communicating with co-workers and always being willing to help out with other tasks,” Kevin says. “Kate came to us ready, with a great work ethic.”

“Kevin has also been a great mentor,” she says. “He encouraged me to take on different roles and provided guidance to help me develop skills in areas such as leadership and task delegation.”

Kate contributed a lot through her work with the Town, Kevin says. “She consistently had a positive attitude – always smiling and laughing, and willing to do any task that was asked of her. Kate is an employee that I would love to have on our workforce for many years and any kind of employer would want to have 10 more just like her. She is a person that will excel wherever she decides to go.”

Kate was to head to Oulton College in Moncton in early 2022 to study to be a paramedic. Her stint with the Town of Hampton was definitely memorable and valuable, she says.

Kate Coleman, eagerly posed next to one the towns impressive Canna Lillies on ‘moving day’ for their flowers this fall

“I would recommend a mentorship program like this to others. I had the opportunity to explore several different jobs and acquired skills that I know will serve me well in my future career.”