I was a psych major in college; everything I learned about business I learned the hard way – on the job making mistakes and somehow persevering with minimal crying (sounds like a cheesy business book out there somewhere).
Years ago helping to run a business was as foreign to me as having children – just not part of the plan. When I was a child, maximizing the summers with fun was the way to go. I never even went to camp (we were po' folk). When I was a teenager it was still all about fun, but the work ethic started because the end game then was my first (muscle) car – '72 El Camino. Miss that car.
For many of you with children, the school year has most likely started by now. Did your kids go to any camps this year? Did your teenagers have a job, even in this messy economy, saving money for their first car, computer, iPhone and/or other gadget? Did they do any community volunteer work?
A few weeks ago I read an article in the San Jose Mercury News (the Silicon Valley newspaper, you know) about business summer camp. Yes, business summer camp. Maybe not a surprise to some of you, but I had no idea. I'm stuck in the world of Meatballs.
The business camp I read about is called Camp BizSmart (I'm sure there are many of these across the U.S.). On their home page they write:
Ever wondered how Apple created the iPod or YouTube started an online video revolution? Do you have ideas that could one day become the next Netflix or Wii?
For two weeks, students will:
Work on real inventions with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and CEOs
Present a business plan to investors onsite at Microsoft
Make a 30-second video pitch at Cisco's TV studio
Talk to customers around the world using state-of-the-art, virtual meeting technology
Win prizes for inventions and innovativeness
Very cool. There was also a local UCSC camp for developing role-playing games. I never would've even imagined going to these types of camps. I mean, I remember hanging out, sitting on my butt, watching MTV play the same 10 videos over and over again back in the day, in between my summer job and football practice. (And MTV has grown up and grown into quite a lucrative business.)
So on the eve of Mama A and I having our first child, I'm happy to hear there are "fun" business, leadership and technical skill development options out there for kids. We do need to be making these types of educational investments in our children – America's bright future in a glowing global economy.
Oh, and they can still play, too. Playing is good.