OHSWEKEN – “Tell me I’ll listen, show me I’ll see, but let me do it and I’ll remember” is something that Rachel Martin has been trying to teach kids in her Break into Business camp for the last two weeks.
Break into Business camps are week long workshops put on by the Two Rivers Community Development Centre that teach children ages nine to 12 about business. Camp members are challenged to produce a product and run a business for a day; they receive a $40 loan from Two Rivers and any money left over after they repay their loan is theirs to keep. On Thursday, July 28 the kids sold their products, which varied from items like homemade candles, cupcakes in a mug and more.
“The first day we teach the kids what being a business owner is all about,” said Martin, a local business owner and business support officer for Two Rivers. “Then we take the kids out into the community for a backstage tour of some businesses. This year we took the group to Crock a Doodle and Boston Pizza — they made their own pizzas and had to wash the dishes afterwards. We had a camp last week with kids aged nine and 10, this week our kids were 11 to 12.
The third day is production day.
“We give the kids some ideas and they choose what they want to make. We sit down with them and discuss how much it will cost them to make each unit and ask them what they think they should sell them for to make a profit,” said Martin. “Some kids would say, ‘well it cost me $1.80 to make, so I should sell them for $2’ and we would try and explain to them that since they worked very hard on each one that they should charge more to make sure their hard work is worth it — we try and teach them what it’s like in real life.”
Co-ordinator Mickenzie Martin, a 20-year-old science student at Western University who was a participant in the very first camp roughly 10 years ago said that the kids learn very valuable lessons.
“They [the kids] learn things like time management and how they can take what they learn here and use it in the future,” she said. “When I took the course I made and sold painted eagle feathers, then a few months later I mass-produced more and sold them on my own at the New Credit Pow wow.”
Clarice King, 19, another event co-ordinator, said she participated in the camp before too and she likes to see all the kids having fun and making friends while learning such valuable information.
“They learn how to make change, how to have great customer service and how to be friendly — all things that will help them in any future job,” said King,
Lleyton Sowden is 11 years old and he sold handcrafted nightlights for $5. He sold out early on and plans on using what he’s learned at camp to sell lacrosse sticks and heads that he strings and dyes himself.
“This aligns with his whole business outlook,” said Lleyton’s mom, Michelle Bomberry. “He has stringed sticks for his friends and some coaches. He really looks up to NLL guys like Craig Point, Cody Jamieson, Stephen Keogh, Sid Smith and Dan Dawson. So in case his lacrosse career doesn’t takeoff he has a business to fall back on.”
Usually all the kids will sell out of product, or come close to selling out of their products. For any that might not have, or for those that didn’t make as much profit as they hoped, the event co-ordinators offered some advice.
“It’s like real life, what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it,” said Mickenzie.
King agreed with her colleague and said “I would tell anybody who wasn’t happy with their profits to spend more time focusing on their business models and time management skills.”