- Balance Their Interests With New Experiences. A great match is a summer camp that addresses topics your child is interested in, but also gives them access to experiencing things they don’t have access to learning anywhere else.
- Look for Just-In-Time Learning Opportunities. What is on your child’s horizon? Will they be entering a new level of responsibility? Will they need new social skills in the coming year? What will they be dealing with next, that this summer camp could give them practice with?
- Choose A Camp That Honors Kids as People. Considering that you’ll be leaving your child with a group of people they don’t know, it’s critical that the camp leaders respect and honor kids. Of course, this includes safety measures. But it should also include the way adults talk to kids.
- Give Them Real-World Experience. Whatever the topic, a great summer camp gives kids real world experience that challenges their problem solving capacity and strengthens their courage to try new things.
- Give Them Great Memories. Is this camp the kind of extraordinary experience that your child will never forget? While you can’t predict with certainty that your kids will remember this experience, you have a good idea about this one. Trust your gut.
Last week, we completed the inaugural Money Academy Camp in Asheville, NC. For one week, 11 young people from ages 7 – 15 came together to create a successful business project, making almost $200 in just two days of selling. With the help of Lev’s accordion playing to attract customers to the booth, the campers sold hand painted canvas bags and individual greeting cards.
We had a special surprise when WLOS (the local ABC affiliate) came by and interviewed a couple of the kids to share the news with their viewers. Watch for a link to that news story later this week!
Thanks Asheville and Neo Cantina for embracing us with such warm hospitality! We’ll be back July 25-29 to deliver one more session of the camp this summer. See you then!
Like our Facebook Page for Asheville and get $25 off the next session of camp!
Another great article from The Economic Times:
As adults, we want to give kids our hard earned financial wisdom that we have learned along the way through our own mistakes. Well, remember how well you listened to your parents when they did the same with you? Especially the “Save to Retire” mantra we tell kids all the time. They’re thinking, “I’m NEVER going to be that old!”
Teaching them how to balance a checkbook or add dimes and nickels doesn’t help them understand the larger ideas they are really curious about.
So what is the access to introducing sound financial habits and beliefs to our kids?
Answer: Explore with them how money works (when you spend it, it’s gone!) Then look for the many ways that money can be used to make more money (compound interest, investing). Encourage them to find ways to multiply their money, bring in money, build their own financial stability vs. focusing on how they will spend it.
Look for those teachable moments to explore ideas together. Remember, their perspective is not the same as yours. Their curiosity could open up some new ideas for adults, if we just let ourselves be in the inquiry with them instead of pretending we already know everything about money. And do we really?
Our first camp of the summer starts Monday and there is still room to enroll your child in the best experience of their summer! Parents report that what their kids learn about money in camp stays with them forever. After 7 years of working with kids in this program, we’ve seen dramatic results from the graduates.
Kids are bombarded with messages of consumption and spending from the media and the culture. How are we going to ensure their future of financial responsibility and independence?
We have to engage them in real-life, real-money experiences that have them learn about money first hand. Most importantly, they can see for themselves that they are many ways to use money besides spending. What if we used money to make more money? Now that’s not something that was never taught in school! And don’t we all wish we had learned that when we were kids.
Money Academy Camp gets kids inspired to use money to build assets and financial independence. In camp, the kids create a real business for the week, sell a product for real money, and they get to keep the PROFITS! Now that’s what gets their attention.
Make an “Investment” in your child’s financial future!
Gayle Reaume bears absolutely no resemblance to Donald Trump. Her eager-beaver entrepreneurs don’t have BlackBerrys, tattoos, entourages or egos the size of Cleveland.
But Reaume accomplishes what “The Celebrity Apprentice” can only dream of: She makes learning about money fun for kids.
Each summer, the founder of The Money Academy and her merry band of counselors oversee more than a dozen weeklong camps at merchant locations in the Austin, Texas, area. Camps serve kids ages 8 to 18.
Call it “The Apprentice: Summer Camp Edition.”
The counselors help the kids form a basic business structure, complete with chief executive officer, chief financial officer, marketing director and sales manager. Then, they set them loose to develop a product or service and seek their fortune. The kids rotate positions so each can feel the heat.
“Monday, they’re out doing market research to determine what their customers would want to buy,” Reaume says. “By Tuesday, they’re prototyping. By Wednesday, they’re selling, doing financial statements every day, looking at profit and loss.
Any money they make, the campers get to keep — after expenses, of course.
“I’ve never had a camp not make money because we let them learn from their experience,” Reaume says. “We let them fail. We don’t go in and tell them, ‘Make this product.’ We don’t even give them very much feedback. We don’t want to take away any of the opportunities for them to make a mistake.”
Snap, crackle and pop
Forget lemonade stands; these kids want a real piece of the action. They’ve hit the bricks with everything from hand-painted, earth-friendly canvas shopping bags to lavender bath products to organic potted herbs.
One group of teenage boys even gave lunch-hour massages to the downtown cubicle crowd at $10 a snap, crackle and pop.
“They had people come in and show them how to do foot, hand and neck massages,” Reaume says. “They had twinkle lights and Enya playing in the background and towels and warm tea. High school boys! And they made a lot of money.”
What would success be without a few hard knocks? One of Reaume’s favorites involved selling live ladybugs at an organic nursery.
“They researched and found out they could buy like 50,000 ladybugs for cheap,” she says. “The nurseryman said if you keep them cold, they don’t fly. Well, they don’t fly, but they’ll crawl! So we’ve got these little boys running around screaming with ladybugs crawling up their sleeves and pant legs. Hysterical!”
Accidental money guru
Reaume, a single mom who worked in publishing, hardly set out to become a money guru. She admits she couldn’t even manage her own finances until she joined an investment club in the mid-1990s.
But when her daughter Evan A., then a second-grader, asked to start a pint-size investment club with her friends, Reaume figured she would teach them all about it. Instead, she spent a year and a half listening to and learning from them.
The more she heard, the more she realized that kids have a natural curiosity about money. Unfortunately, money is still not a topic for discussion in most homes, and schools have failed so far to crack the code on financial education, much less figure out how to make it fun.
“Kids don’t need the kind of information that is available through most curriculums. It’s adult versions of things that have been ‘dumbed down’ to kids, and it’s not what kids need to know,” she says. “It isn’t useful to them.”
Reaume has seen the benefit of financial education in her own daughter. At 15, Evan A. manages her own career as a budding singer-songwriter but keeps it real by collecting income at the candy machine she installed years ago at Austin’s legendary Shady Grove restaurant and music venue.
True to the entrepreneurial spirit of its summer camps, The Money Academy’s curriculum stands apart from the crowd because it started with the kids.
“So many companies in the marketplace are trying to generate curriculum, but they’re so far behind the curve,” Reaume says. “We’ve got five years of development on them. We’re in a really good space to put in something that works phenomenally well. Not only that, it goes home and the kids teach their parents.”
That sure beats coming home from camp with a case of poison ivy.
I applaud the Girl Scouts for encouraging financial literacy for girls! In these shaky economic times, it’s even more important that young girls have the tools to be financially stable.
This is what Girl Scouts provides and Money Academy Camp is here to support the girls in earning a badge while learning about money and business.
This past Saturday, a group of middle school kids and their parents gathered at Kealing Middle School in East Austin to engage in learning activities and conversations to improve their understanding of personal finance.
A big Thank You to the Money Academy Apprentice Team that devoted their morning to sharing their experience of learning about money with this group of interested students. And Thanks to Ujamaa Foundation, Weed and Seed After School program, Frost Bank and Parks & Recreation for your support. And to the Kealing PTA for the delicious breakfast tacos!
The Money Academy Apprentice Team includes a dedicated group of Middle and High School graduates of Money Academy Camp: Tyra Glasper, Milan Rivas, Keith Mitchell, Eamon Umphress, Aaron Harris, David Crouch, Joshua Guzman, Kekoa Macauley, Trevor Brown, Max Decker, and Matthew Williamson.
Thank you all for your dedication to sharing your experience of smart financial habits!