Indianapolis' Black Expo
Summer camp offers kids chance to run their first business
July 17, 2015
The sooner kids get involved in business, the more confident and successful they can become, which is why Saint Florian Center summer camp hosts an event allowing kids to practice running a business.
Indiana Black Expo held their Children’s Day Friday which was open to summer camps, day cares and other youth service agencies. Saint Florian Center has participated in Children’s Day for 20 years by creating a Violence Free Market Day. The camp was developed by Indianapolis firefighters in 1992 to positively influence the youth in the community.
Children ages 6 through 17, who attended the camp, studied for a week about what it takes to run a business before the event. The children then identified a target market for this particular event and created businesses to appeal to the young kids at the Expo.
Each group of children came up with their own business and decided what kind of products they wanted to sell as well as what kind of activity they would have at their table. Customers used tickets called St. Florian dollars to purchase the products the kids were selling.
The children of the camp had to come up with a budget and take that budget to the St. Florian Center’s “bank” for a real loan to use for their businesses. The kids also had to rent tables for their business and will have to pay back the loans that they borrowed from the summer camp “bank.”
Executive director of the program, Anthony Williamson, has worked with the summer camp for 23 years.
“These kids have so many talents, and they have so much that they want to do in their lives,” said Williamson. “We give them those leadership opportunities to expand their horizons that sometimes they don’t get the chance to do.”
They sold all kinds of snacks including small bags of chips, juice boxes, and candy. They also made money by selling tickets to carnival-like games for the customers to play.
“I’ve learned that it’s not easy working a market and selling things, but it’s a lot of fun,” Elyjah Messer, 10, said.
Counselors at the camp also guided the campers in running their businesses. Counselor Niki Ransom, has worked with the camp for seven years and said she loves the annual Violence Free Market Day.
“We teach the kids the terminology they need to run a business and teach them supply and demand,” Ransom said. “Leading up to the market day is very stressful but I love these kids so it’s all just a matter of having fun.”
Once the event is over, they will turn in the tickets they made and trade them in for real money. At the end of the summer camp, children will be given the money that they earned and will be allowed to spend it on whatever they desire.
“It’s a real life experience,” Williamson said. “Although each group member has a certain role, they come together to work as a team and they are excelling."
At the Saint Florian Center, it’s all about positivity, teamwork, and most importantly their motto, “Do Something Positive, Be Someone Positive, and Have Something Positive.”