When you think of the ideal employee, you probably think of terms like industrious, prompt, energetic, friendly, and smart. Julia Sape, of the Castle Farms Set-Up Staff, personifies all these qualities, plus a few more like fun and creative. Now a junior in high school, Julia applied for a job at the Castle before she could even work here. She had to wait 2 days until her birthday to be old enough to work back in 2014. Since then, she has mastered her job and has created some wonderful aspirations from working here.
“I set up the tables, chairs, tell guests where to go, tear it all down and start again” she tells me while smiling broadly. She works about 4 days per week in the summer months and then weekends during the school year. She loves the schedule with its smattering of mornings and afternoons. When asked her how it was working while attending school she was affirmed that she gets all her homework done during the week and then has the weekends to work and have fun.
Julia works weddings, fundraisers, expos, and any other party that the Castle hosts. Her favorite part of working weddings is when the carriages get lined up to bring the bride to the ceremony. She also loves being able to hear the ceremony music and regularly gets chills watching couples walk down the aisle. Lest she be seen as a romantic, she also likes themed weddings and thinks that a recent pirate wedding was “pretty cool.”
When Julia started talking about the future, she made a surprising quiet comment about her dream job of being a dancer. She wants a career she can do for a long time, and “you can only dance for so long.” Sentiments like this keep reshaping preconceived ideas of a bubbly teenager to one who has a great head on her shoulders and the gravitas of someone years older. She has danced since 3rd grade and enjoys ballet, lyrical, and acrobatic styles, though she’s also tried hip hop and tap (definitely not a favorite of hers). She loves adding the tumbling and contortion work of acrobatics into traditional ballet. Lyrical dance is closer to traditional ballet, but it’s not as simple as that. “It’s about your mindset” she said. When you’re kicking you have to think not just about how high but also if your foot is pointed or flexed. “Ballet is graceful, while lyrical is powerful.”
Her future plans involve community college for her basics and then transferring to MSU for their Hospitality Management program. When I asked if she’ll pursue dance into college she was doubtful. There is a dance team at MSU but she “will have to look into it to see how time consuming” it will be. She’d like a career that involves weddings. Her creative mindset kicks into high gear when she’s thinking about pairing decor ideas she’s seen. With her combination of creativity and organization, she should go far.
Family time is important to this teenager. She grew up in Charlevoix and loves the small beach town. “Everything is close but there’s room to spread out.” She has 2 younger sisters, one of which is taller than her, which Julia hates. “That’s not cool” she laughs. She loves outdoor activities like fishing, four wheeling, camping, and especially bonfires, where her dad tells great stories. Another interesting part of Julia’s life is that she is not on social media at all. This was a family decision that she completely agrees with. “If someone wants to know what I’m doing, they can give me a call!”
That spunky attitude is what many employees like about her. Her supervisor, Abe, and her have a bit of a brother/sister relationship and tease each other with nicknames (Juliard for her, Abby Malicat for Abe). “We plug in some music and the whole room gets jamming. You’d think there was a party but it’s just us setting up or tearing down a room.” Julia makes her set up job fun, not just for her but also for those working with her. She is consistently an example of teamwork and positivity to coworkers young and old. Keep kicking up your heels, Julia, and dance your way into your dreams!