Entrepreneurial Camp

 
The Rotary Club of Okotoks has traditionally supported one to four students to attend Entrepreneurial Camp at Eagles Nest Ranch in the Cypress Hills of Southern Alberta.  Students returned from Camp and many did presentations to the club,  We all got a sense that this was an intense team building exercise while learning what it takes to build a business.   Students always expressed appreciation at having been given this opportunity to learn and grow – using words like awesome,  best ever camp, made so many friends, gained so much confidence, etc .  As there was a young man close to us, Udo and I decided that we would make the trek to the closing ceremonies, and try and discover what turned these “kids” on.
 
We were met with a big open market with many “must have” items!  These were  the final products of the “small businesses” that were set up during the week.   The students are divided into 10 groups of 6.  They  are exposed to all the aspects of starting a small business:  What is your idea?  Preparation of a business plan.  Meet with bankers – get a loan and negotiate the interest rate  (These are real bankers)!  Shop for raw materials,   Build the product.  Market the product.  Pay back the banker with interest.  Have you any money as profit?   I enjoyed my shopping – is it cookie in a jar, earrings made with feathers scrounged in the woods (yes had to have those),  popsicles in a cup.  towels and washcloths with designs bleached into them, etc. 

We gathered in the beautiful amphitheatre for the closing ceremonies, sitting in the beautiful pine forest surrounding the camp.  It was obvious that the teams were excited as the awards were handed out for innovation, leadership, etc.  However, there was a feeling that every one was a winner,  They had shared a week of hard work, learning, and fun,  I think I saw it all expressed as we were leaving and went one final time to the great hall for a drink.  There simply was not enough Kleenex to go around as campers were saying goodbye to one another.