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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Life Lessons Taught at a Summer Job

For many students, summer jobs are a time to earn some pocket money and kick back and enjoy some time away from the grind of early-morning classes and late-night cramming sessions. But John Bartlik Jr., owner of the concession stands at Greenwich Point and Island Beach, says a summer job could teach life lessons and define a student's college career.

"Some kids today need help with bringing out their work ethic," Bartlik said. "Not a lot of people teach the 'old school way,' and that's what my father taught me. And that is what I'm teaching to my employees."

As a third-generation concession owner, Bartlik started to learn the tricks of the trade at the age of 12 from his father, John Bartlik Sr. The Bartliks, a family of snack bar and concession stand pioneers, conquered spots from Rye, N.Y., to Greenwich. They opened the Greenwich Point concession in 1956 and have been there ever since. "When you work for a family business, it's like working for the mafia," he said.

The 50-year-old owns a house in Austin, Texas, with his wife and four children and rents an apartment in Stamford during the summer. Bartlik employs a number of students and looks forward to every new summer season.

"You need to be able to create a great work environment for kids," he said. "I like to teach how to have a good work ethic, a sense of accomplishment and prepare them for the working world."

As the summer winds down and his summer flock prepares to leave the Greenwich Point nest, Bartlik said he feels a sense of pride that he impacted a young person's life. "It's all about the job, mentoring, teaching and spending time with the kids," Bartlik said. "My father still has former employees thanking him."

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