A group of Mount Airy kids learned how to manage a business while selling lemonade for a good cause.
On Wednesday, students from the Mount Airy City Schools were serving lemonade on Main Street and at the Jones Family Resource Center. The lemonade stands were the culminating event in a two-week entrepreneurship camp, and all proceeds from donations at the stand will be turned over to the Shepherd’s House, the local homeless shelter.
Loida Slate taught the two-week program. She said it attracted interest from elementary and middle school students. Additionally, high school students completing internships helped Slate teach the program.
Slate said the students who took part in the summer camp, dubbed Lemonade Smiles, learned skills such as how to create a budget for their new business, setting goals, customer relations and creating a business plan.
She said students even put much thought into what lemonade recipe they would serve, holding a tasting competition.
Slate added that though the program guided students down a path which taught them entrepreneurship, the camp was student-led, with them calling the shots in their recipe for success.
The program also included entrepreneurs from the community speaking to the students, said Slate.
Dr. Phillip Brown, executive director for teaching and learning for the city school district, said teaching entrepreneurship to students is part of the district’s strategic plan. However, selling lemonade can teach much more than that.
“There are lots of ancillary benefits to this program as well,” said Brown, noting kids learn marketing and communication skills and financial management skills.
They also get a lesson in giving back to the community, added Brown.
Brown noted the camp is free for all who take part, and it is not funded by way of local tax dollars either. Instead, the district uses at-risk student funding from the state and some grant monies to make it possible.
The camp is just one of many opportunities extended to students of the district throughout the summer months. Brown mentioned a similar camp in which students will sell cupcakes that will begin next week.
“Another goal we have is to give every student a summer experience they can enjoy,” said Brown.
As kids passed out lemonade, many folks were quick to hand over a donation, and Mary Boyles, executive director at the Shepherd’s House, said the lemonade stands are just another example of how the community supports the work of her organization.
“We are so thankful for the support we receive from this community,” said Boyles.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.