CHAMPLAIN - The Federal Women's Program has sponsored "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" at the Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Champlain for the last 17 years. This year, a record number of kids chose to participate.
CBP was one of the first companies to participate in the national event, which was "founded to create an opportunity for girls and boys to share and communicate their expectations for the future," according to the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation. However, its origins mainly focused on daughters.
"When this program first started, it was Take Your Daughters to Work," explained FWP manager Diane Brockway. "It was geared to girls ... to boost their self-esteem, make them more self-assured and that's how it started."
According to Brockway, one of the reasons CBP decided to participate was because girls felt there was a lack of women holding positions at the border.
"At the time we thought that maybe that the young girls should see the fact that there are women working in customs," Brockway said. "Now, there are a lot more women working, but at the time it was not normal seeing a woman customs officer."
CBP also began holding Take Your Sons to Work Day, eventually deciding to integrate the two programs.
"Each one of those programs had gotten up to almost 30 each," explained Brockway. "Then, when I combined the two, we were expecting this big group of 60."
However, the combined group still only received between 30-35 children, ages 9-18, finally hitting 40 last year.
"So, that's what I was expecting this year and I was amazed," Brockway said when the number of participants this year totaled 60.
The 60 kids from Clinton and Essex counties received permission from their schools for an excused absence to learn about different career opportunities the CBP has available as well as watching presentations from numerous divisions at the border.
"Presentations from CBP officers and import specialists, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System, U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialists and Food and Drug Administration were well received," according to a press release provided by the CBP.
The kids also got to see a helicopter and spend time with CBP narcotic dog "Barry," and Agriculture dog "Timber."
"I think it's a really worthwhile program," Brockway said. "It definitely shows the kids some of the careers they can look toward doing."