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Camp makes entrepreneurs of middle schoolers

Camp makes entrepreneurs of middle schoolers

Capitalism for a new generation

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YORK – Creating a product to meet a need, including the serious topics of financing, marketing and manufacturing, were studied in deep detail last week in York.

Fourteen fortunate middle school kids who attended UNL Extension’s EntrepreneurShip Investigation Camp Tuesday through Friday started with their own ideas and ended with a profit … or not depending on their individual business acumen.

Numerous sponsor partners not only made the camp possible, they paid down the cost from some $400 each to just $15 a student.

The York session was also unique for the fact it featured three paid, professional teachers.

Superintendent Dr. Mike Lucas advocated for the camp enthusiastically and, organizers noted, provided teachers Jane Brogan, Brittany Wiley and Kim Snodgrass. He was also key to recruiting sponsors so the cost of the week would remain affordable for families.

Sponsors were: Cornerstone Bank, Dickeys BBQ Pit, Midwest Bank, Power Track Sliding Doors, York State Bank, Henderson State Bank, Community Title Company, York Community Development Corporation, York Area Chamber of Commerce, York Public Schools, UNL Extension and the York Community Foundation.

The program teaches entrepreneurial skills to youth, makes them understand economics, opens career opportunity, fosters relationships across generations, helps youngsters develop relationships with local business owners, bankers and professionals, and helps them understand they can control where they live by being their own employers.

Participants in this first of what is hoped to become an annual camp were: John Esser, Abby York, Sophia Chavanu, Aleyah Hunzeker, Piper Fernau, Riley Krause, Emmett Heiss, Dean Erdkamp, Anne Thomas, Callie Hurley, Addison Legg, Ty Schneider, Baylie Holthus and Alyssa Gilliland.

Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the two-dozen blossoming young business men and women met on the fifth floor of Cornerstone Bank with a small army of adult advisors to learn the realities of business and to incubate their own individual strategies.

Each student created his or her own business after obtaining a start-up loan, designed and manufactured a product, sold the product during Sidewalk Sales Day in downtown York on Saturday morning, repaid the loan to Henderson State Bank and pocketed whatever profit remained.

The local banking industry made it possible for every one of the 14 campers to sit down for a one-to-one session with a banker. Standard loan amounts from Henderson State were $50, though a few campers chose to roll the dice and borrow more.

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