Spotlight: Youth camp teaches entrepreneurial skills
The Northern Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp (NAYEC) is still looking for students between 13 and 15 years old who are interested in learning important business skills, as well as having fun at Blue Lake Centre.
The six-day camp, which runs from Aug. 12-18, gives participants a chance to team up and come up with a business idea, create a business plan, and pitch the idea to guest bankers in order to get the funds and materials they need to start the business and sell their product during “Market Day.”
For the past six years, Community Futures has been hosting the entrepreneurial camp, which features lessons in business planning, business names, marketing techniques, budgeting, and financial management. It also allows the participants a chance to enjoy the area and have fun hiking, swimming, rope climbing, and other fun camp activities.
“It is wonderful to see how all of the youth who attend truly find themselves,” says camp coordinator Leah Holler. “Some take on natural leadership roles with their teams; others identify their strengths and put them to work for their businesses, while others take the opportunity to put their charisma to work as marketers of their business and product.”
The camp is free and spaces are filling up fast; however, Holler says there are still a few spots left and she would like to see as many applicants as possible.
“We find this age group is ideal because they are beginning to think about what they want to do in the future,” says Holler. “The camp is open to anyone in that age group and they all seem to get something out of it. At this point, we even have three people who attended the camp coming back as volunteers because they learned so much during the time they were here.
“NAYEC creates an opportunity for regional youth to gain valuable, transferable entrepreneurial skills by participating in experiential education activities, while enjoying the traditional summer camp experience,” explains Holler. “NAYEC provides campers the opportunity to develop a profitable business, and once they have paid back their loans, any money they make during market day is theirs to keep.”
Each day features a particular focus on one aspect in business that participants will need to be successful – not only at camp, but also in the future.
Day one consists of orientation, as well as an inspiring speech from someone who managed to overcome some type of impairment and go on to become a successful business person. For example, last year,
Alvin Law spoke to the group. He was born without arms after his birth mother, thinking it was completely safe, used just a couple of the pills known as Thalidomide. Today, Law is a completely independent, remarkably successful professional speaker.
On day two, the kids get divided into Business Teams and Recreation Teams. They learn all bout self assessment and skills enhancement, business structures, business plan overviews, business ideas, market research and demographics, mission statements, and business names.
On day three the campers learn about the importance of being prepared for opportunities to make solid presentations on their businesses and products.
Day four focuses on financing and gives the participants an opportunity to prepare their presentation to the local bankers.
On day five, campers get their first taste of competition when they participate in an auction, each trying to out-bid each other for a prime spot to set up a business.
Day six includes a session on customer service, which helps them to prepare for day seven: market day. Once the businesses close, the campers get to enjoy a barbecue and take place in an awards ceremony.
“The camp focuses on teaching participants how to successfully start, market, and run a business,” says Holler. “But there’s a lot of time set aside for the kids to have fun and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere up at Blue Lake Centre.”
For more information on participating in this year’s camp, contact the Community Futures office in Slave Lake at (780) 849-3232.
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