Children's Summer Camp Makes Learning About Business Fun
FORT MYERS, FL - Organizers describe it as a “human board game of life” and they invite children in grades two through eight to learn about money and entrepreneurship during the summer program 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays July 8 through 26 at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Financial Fitness for Life Summer Camp” creates a town of businesses run by 65 children with $100 each in real startup money. Campers alternate learning about business concepts with breaks for swimming, playing or team sports.
Participants team together to use computers, the library and other creative activities to build their businesses. As true entrepreneurs, they learn a valuable lesson on risk: Some may walk away with a lot of money or others may leave with none.
Business profits and taxes donated to a local charity determine each child’s level of achievement. The camp ends with families and friends visiting the town, buying from businesses and playing out the program.
“The goal is to expand children’s knowledge of personal finance and encourage them to bring their families, teachers and community members with them on their journey,” FGCU assistant professor of accounting Deanna Burgess said.
Burgess and husband David, principal of Poinciana Elementary School in Collier, are co-founders of the camp’s host, KidsFirst.
Other FGCU professors, FGCU students, middle school camp counselors and several community business associates provide the framework that mentors campers.
“I believe the Financial Fitness for Life Summer Camp offers student participants a truly unique learning environment,” vice president of the Collier County Education Foundation Jeff Amma said. “The students get to experience challenging business decisions, while giving them the opportunity to interact with community, educational and business leaders.”
The Collier County Education Foundation and the FGCU Center for Leadership and Innovation are co-sponsoring the camp with Bank of America, McDonald’s and The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Inc.
“Community reaction is overwhelmingly positive,” Burgess said. “Next year we plan to expand enrollment and offer tuition subsidies for economically disadvantaged youth through a federal grant.”
Owner-operator of McBLT Ventures Inc., a local McDonald’s coop, Tom Fewster agrees with Burgess. “We strongly support the university and local community efforts involving our youth - especially when teaching economic responsibility.”
Space is limited and participants are encouraged to register early. The three-week program requires a reservation and a nonrefundable $300 tuition. A $55 registration fee covers the cost of a souvenir shirt and optional overnight stay in FGCU residence halls on July 26.
A limited number of spaces are available for camp counselors in upper grades.
For more information, contact Burgess at (941) 590-9123.