Vancouver kids will experience Lemonade Day

GVCC announces that the youth entrepreneurship program will expand to Southwest Washington

Lemonade Stand
Courtesy of Mike Keelty/iStock. The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce recently announced they are helping to bring Lemonade Day, a well-established global, national youth entrepreneurship program, to the Greater Vancouver area.

Lemonade Day, a well-established global, national youth entrepreneurship program that teaches leadership and business skills by encouraging children to launch a lemonade business in their hometown, recently announced that it will bring the Lemonade Day experience to kids in the Greater Vancouver area in 2020.

According to a recent news release from the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC), since 2007, more than one million kids have learned about business ownership by participating in Lemonade Day and hosting a lemonade stand in their community. In 2019, 80 cities supported Lemonade Day, and Vancouver is making it 81 cities in 2020.

“We are planning to have more than 750-plus kids participate in Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver on Saturday, June 6, 2020,” said Janet Kenefsky, Lemonade Day city director and VP of Membership & Operations at the GVCC. “Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver not only helps prepare our future entrepreneurs, it also exposes our young entrepreneurs to our local chamber of commerce. Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver unites our business community, city leadership, educators, community members, parents and children to work together toward a common goal – preparing our children for the future.”

Kenefsky said the core philosophy of this program is to teach children how to run a business so they can “spend some, save some, share some.”

“It’s very important for children to learn how to spend some of their profits on an item they have been wanting to purchase,” Kenefsky said. “After all, this is why we work. They will also be given an opportunity to save some and learn how to save either in a piggy bank in their bedroom or in a savings account at a local credit union or bank. Finally, it’s important that the children learn to give to a charity or program that speaks to them and their hearts.”

According to the GVCC news release, it has been proven that cities that rally behind Lemonade Day benefit as much as the kids and their adult mentors do. The impact of a program like Lemonade Day is four-fold: 1) teach financial literacy to kids, which is currently absent in public and private school curriculum; 2) promote entrepreneurship, which is key to jumpstart economic growth in the state; 3) teach kids to be responsible and self reliant, and to contribute to their community’s development; and 4) foster mentorship and bring families together.

This initial year of the program in Vancouver, Kenefsky said they are working with ESD 112 and the elementary schools across Clark County to offer the program through the third, fourth and fifth grade classes. She said they are hoping all teachers jump at the chance of providing this program to their children in their classroom.

The Lemonade Day program is free and once a child signs up through the classroom, they will receive a backpack with an informational workbook that outlines the steps needed to start a business: from setting a goal, creating a business plan, forming a budget, finding an investor, to saving money and donating a portion back to their community. Materials are available in English and Spanish.

“Everyone is welcome to be involved with Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver,” Kenefsky said. “We need mentors, investors, employees and customers to support participants. Sponsors and volunteers are also needed to make Lemonade Day a success. All money raised through local donations and sponsorships directly support Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver.”

Kenefsky said there are a lot of moving pieces to make this program happen. GVCC has appointed a Lemon Council made up of community businesses, school district officials and volunteers in order to make this a success.

Leading up to the June 6 Lemonade Day is months of programming and planning of events that will take place before Lemonade Day. For example, Kenefsky said they will have a Micro-Loan Day where kids can enter their local participating bank/credit union to take out a micro-loan in order to purchase supplies and other expenses, just like a regular business would. They will then have an opportunity to pay back the loan after June 6, and Kenefsky said they expect many of the credit unions and banks will have a special gift for the children to open up their first savings account.

There will also be a few fun contests such as build-a-stand contest, a best lemonade tasting contest, etc. After the Lemonade Day, Kenefksy said all of the kids are invited to a fun-filled party where they will turn in their business results, have an opportunity to win some prizes and share their experiences of operating their own business. The kids will also have a chance to meet with several nonprofits, providing them an opportunity to “share some” of their profits.

So far, iQ Credit Union has come on board as the program’s Main Squeeze investor. HAPO Community Credit Union, Waste Connections and On Point Community Credit Union have all signed on as Lemon Drop investors, and Columbia Credit Union also signed on as their Business Results Contest investor who will hold the end-of-year party for all of the kids. When the Shoe Fits has signed on as a Pucker-Pal investor and all of the investors send mentors from their offices into the classrooms to teach this program to the youth of Clark County. The Chamber is still looking for investors to help bring this program to more kids throughout the county and encourage anyone who is interested to please contact the Chamber.

“The mission of Lemonade Day and that of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce is more complimentary than one might think,” Kenefsky said. “As a B2B organization, the Chamber is focused on creating a healthy business environment so our region can prosper for decades to come, and we recognize this starts with our youth. Helping children develop, build and design their own lemonade business will help develop young minds capable of making decisions, problem solve and think critically. All of which are necessary skills employers need in a viable workforce.”

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.