Career fair... Well, as planned I attended a career fair put on by the LDS church for the young men in the stake we live in. If you're unfamiliar with the LDS church's organization, a “stake” is a collection of “wards”, and each ward is one congregation in a church (one church generally has several congregations that meet at different times). So a stake is a fairly large collection of people – several thousand at minimum. The idea was to bring about ten or so adults representing a variety of career to one place where the young men could easily talk with them. The place they selected was an area within the Cinnamon Creek church property that's east (and upstream) of Porcupine Reservoir. It's a beautiful property set in a beautiful canyon; I spent quite a bit of time just gawking at my surroundings.
Prior to the actual career event, I sat with a group of adult men being engaged by one of the stake leaders. This is the first time I'd ever been able to observe such a meeting, and I was impressed with what I saw. This particular meeting was all about various ways the adult men were going to help and mentor the young men in the stake over the next year. The leader was a skilled facilitator, adept at extracting participation of even the most reticent participant. He was also good at communicating, and at listening. Several of the group he was engaging with showed evidence of similar skills. This sort of community participation is a big factor in LDS culture – it's easy to imagine that as a group they might produce an unusual percentage of competent leaders.
The presenters (which I was one of) were a great cross-section of the Cache Valley work force. I know several of them who are part of the same ward that we live in; two are neighbors. We had several engineers, a fellow who makes fireworks, a firefighter, a car repairman, a doctor, a graphic artist and photographer, and more. I'd have found such an opportunity very interesting when I was in high school.
Unfortunately, the attendance (by kids) was quite disappointing – only a dozen or so showed up, and less than half of those came over to speak with me. This career fair had been scheduled on the same day as homecoming in the local high schools and a bike race that many of the stake's young men were participating in. They're going to try to do a better job of scheduling next year, but they've got one bad structural problem that's vexing them: they have to schedule the Cinnamon Creek facility nearly a year in advance, and events like homecoming and the bike race are scheduled months after that...