WSE was awarded a mini-grant to purchase “Biz in a Boxx” for its Young Entrepreneur Stewardship (YES) Initiative, a summer camp for youth aged six to fourteen in the Livingston area. Among other activities, campers used Biz in a Boxx to learn the knowledge and skills needed to manage a business—including accountability, decision-making, communication, and money management. Campers used what they learned to develop and run their own “youth booths”—vendor stands—at the Livingston Farmers Market.
WSE’s Mary Hibbard says that YES “sows the seeds” of entrepreneurship by reaching youth at a young age, teaching them practical business skills in a low-risk setting. The goal of the camp is to “break the cycle of poverty that many families face in [the] rural community.” It also aims to impart the importance of environmental sustainability in business practices and community giving. Nominal fees charged to campers for running their booths—designed to show that businesses have overhead costs—were collected and given by campers to a local charity.
Fifty-three youth participated in the camp this past summer. Twenty-eight of these campers then ran youth booths. One example of a successful business was the youth booth business run by two brothers selling pink lemonade. They realized that by selling pink lemonade made from a powder mix, they could offer a “substitute good” at a lower price than the fresh-squeezed lemonade being sold at the farmers market, and ended up turning a profit of $96 dollars per market day. In addition to campers’ profits, booth fees also raised $150, which campers chose to donate to LINKS for Learning, a youth education program.
WSE plans to teach entrepreneurship and operate youth booths again as part of YES in 2011.
For further information on WSE, please visit their website: http://www.westernsustainabilityexchange.org/.