Tales from Towne: Denver Post Youth Reporter visits BYOB Summer Camp

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Youth Reporter Ben Vanourek interviews students at the BYOB Business Expo.

Campers at the Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) Summer Camp welcomed a special guest on Friday: Ben Vanourek, Youth Reporter with the Denver Post.  Young Americans has partnered with the Post to sponsor the Newspaper Shops in Young AmeriTowne for almost a decade, and we were thrilled that a youth reporter could join us!

Ben has been a member of the youth journalism program at the Denver Post for the last two years.  In addition to writing articles for the “Colorado Kids” section of the paper, Ben attends the annual Youth Journalism Day, an intense but fun event for budding young journalists to meet and learn from journalism professionals.  Organized by the Denver Post, this year’s event is held at Metropolitan State University on Thursday, July 21.  Applications are available online and space is limited.

When he first arrived at BYOB camp, Ben participated in the Youth Business Expo.  The expo is a place for youth to pitch the business ideas they have developed during their week in camp.  Some businesses, like Perry’s “Wild African Bracelets” are actual businesses that have sold products to friends, family, and customers at the YouthBiz Marketplace.  Perry used the week at camp to develop a marketing plan for her bracelets, for example, doing market research to see what kind of new bracelets might sell the best.  Other entrepreneurs are still in the idea phase, such as Brady’s Bubble Bombs.  Brady came up with the idea for his products after noticing the expensive price of bath bombs at specialty stores.  He thought, “I can make those cheaper, and better!”  Brady has a business plan and a few recipes to try, and he hopes to have some products ready to sell by the December YouthBiz Marketplace.  Youth Reporter Ben was in the midst of the action, listening to pitch after pitch and snapping a few photos along the way.

Shark Tank Finalists

Business owners Brady and Ryan pose for a photo after their Shark Tank pitches.

After the expo, campers, guests, and staff gathered for the Shark Tank competition.  Campers voted for their favorite business pitches, and four finalists earned a spot to present in front of a panel of adult judges.  Ryan, CEO of Terrific Trail Mix, said he thought his pitch could have gone better.  “I was more nervous than I thought I’d be!” he remarked after his pitch was over.  But he thought it was a great experience and was glad the judge “sharks” were nicer than the judges he’s seen on T.V.  Ben listened carefully to each pitch, taking notes for his article.

Winners of the 2016 BYOB Shark Tank were:

Best Marketing and Pitch (and Best Overall) – Brady’s Bubbles Bombs

Most Innovative – B-Bags

Most Creative – Terrific Trail Mix

Commitment to Sales – The Street Side Sweets

Based on the awards, each “shark” chose one group to “invest” in.  Even though there were four winners, every participant in BYOB camp ended up on top because each learned a ton about what it takes to run a business.

Young Americans would like to give our thanks to Ben for his time at camp last week interviewing business owners and listening to their ideas and to the Denver Post for its support of Young Americans Center.  Watch for Ben’s article in an upcoming edition of “Colorado Kids.”  We are grateful for your support!

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