In the past week high school seniors all over the Big Horn Basin have crossed the stage and collected their diplomas. At one time it was considered an ending, when the kids went to work, or spent the …
In the past week high school seniors all over the Big Horn Basin have crossed the stage and collected their diplomas. At one time it was considered an ending, when the kids went to work, or spent the short summer preparing to head off to college. Once there, they would take classes and meet new people, often marry or become engaged and once they graduated, get a great job. The downside of that scenario was that in the past they seldom returned to Park County to make a life.
That is no longer the case. The county might still be a net exporter of our youth, but more and more are finding ways to come home to live and work.
For example, there are several home-grown teachers at the area school districts. At least one is part of the recently unveiled virtual academy. That academy is the brainchild of Jason Sleep, who came back and not only made a life here, but started something great that will serve other youngsters who might wind up doing more of the same, coming home and building an opportunity for others to be able to live and work in their own hometown.
There are many families who send their children to college or trade school with the knowledge they will return here to work in the family business, whether that be ranching, farming, construction or the hospitality industry.
But even for students who don’t have a family business to enter, there are plenty of options.
They could enter the school system as teachers, counselors or para-educators. The need will always be here and the schools in Park County are world-class. The demand for special education teachers and paras, as well as those with subspecialties, like Title 1, is great.
But not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. There is no limit to the options to start one’s own business, or grow someone else’s through an in-demand skill set. Take for instance Jared Henderson, of Greybull. He developed an information management system, WireDraw, that is tailored to each business it serves. It can store, organize and distribute data to project team members. WireDraw was a winner of a share of the Ellbogen Entrepreneurship competition. And while Henderson is in Laramie right now, he could easily decide to work from the Big Horn Basin, or anywhere there is internet.
There are any number of similar situations where a young, bright entrepreneur can start his or her own business or work virtually. It is the perfect opportunity to take the products and experiences of wild, wonderful Wyoming and market it to a worldwide audience. Those individuals, notably Europeans, would love to show off a handmade knife or a buffalo hide and tell their friends “It came from Wyoming.”
That doesn’t mean the new grads will have to make the knives or tan the hides themselves. Instead there is a need for someone to showcase the items on an accessible website or in newspapers across the country and magazines that go all over the world.
Even if they do not wish to start up their own businesses, there are many ways the existing industries can use their imagination to expand or tap new markets. Who hasn’t heard of Omaha Steaks? How much more fabulous would a Wyoming steak be, considering the cachet already attached to the beef from the Cowboy State? And if a customer could just pick up the telephone or fire up the laptop and order a gift package shipped to their mother-in-law for the holidays, the sky is the limit for that company and the marketing whiz kids who grow it.
With the excellent education provided by our schools, the work ethic that is part of the pioneer makeup of this region and the mind-boggling creative applications that the students come up with, often on their own, there is no telling how far they can go. Congratulations, graduates and here’s hoping your journey allows you to return home.