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All summer camps are full of opportunities for children to make friends, get out of their comfort zones, express themselves in new ways, and, of course, to learn everything you could possibly need to know about running your own business! Well, maybe not all summer camps, but Young American’s Running Your Own Business (RYOB) camp is full of amazing opportunities to do just those things.
This week long camp is full of hands on learning and fun activities for kiddos who have finished 3rd and 4th grade, that teach them how to actually run their own business. The week culminates in what we call a “Mini Marketplace,” where campers have the opportunity to be producers and consumers. Each day, lessons build on each other like building blocks, giving the kids the tools they need to run their own business in preparation for the Mini Marketplace. Their lessons include topics such as supply and demand, marketing, entrepreneurship, and scarcity. By Tuesday, they are broken up into business groups of 5-6 kids. They have to decide on a business name, set business goals, and invent a logo and slogan for advertising materials. We present each business group with various products including piggy banks, bags, slap bracelets, and lanyard materials. The groups have scheduled production time during the week to make their products unique to their own business.
One of my favorite parts of the week was to see the kids work together creatively to come up with business names and make their business unique from the others. One standout business name for me was “Moldy Snoops.” This name was a compromise of four different ideas. One business group was called “Santa’s Workshop,” and another had products themed “Red, White and Blue.” Another group specialized in Star Wars Origami. While each group began with the same generic products, they all worked hard to make their businesses stand apart from each other.
During the 45-minute-long Mini Marketplace, parents and friends of the children are invited to shop at each business’s stand. Each kiddo is paid 10 AmeriTowne dollars in salary for working during the week, and they are allowed to spend it on other products during the marketplace. If parents and friends wish to buy things, they must exchange one real dollar for every AmeriTowne dollar. At the end of the market, each business group counts their profit and presents their earnings to a “Board of Directors.” Each group’s profit is converted from AmeriTowne dollars to real money, and half is donated to the charity of their choice (the other half covers expenses for supplies). Each group must also answer questions such as “What worked well for your business?” or “Which items were best sellers and why?” Campers chose to donate to: Denver Dumb Friends League, Ronald McDonald House, Urban Peak, Boulder Humane Society, FACES, Special Olympics, Newborns in Need, and Make a Wish.
If you missed this camp, please don’t fret! You can get involved with the Young Entrepreneurs Marketplace on December 7th 2014 at Headquarters, December 14th 2014 at Belmar and next Spring 2015.