Ryan Kelly

A Camp Enterprise Experience

So I walked into my Entrepreneur Studies class a couple of months ago, and my teacher handed me this sheet. He said, “I think you might be interested in this.”

One thing led to another, and I eventually ended up at Camp Enterprise, a four-day overnight trip that took place on May 4-7, 2006. It is run by the Rotary Club at the YMCA Cedar Glen Conference Centre in Bolton. The camp is put on for aspiring high school students who are interested in entrepreneurship and the business world. Now, before you start ripping on me for attending something that sounds more boring and nerdy than an accountant watching paint dry, hear me out. This camp was extraordinary. This was not like a “watered-down drinks, creaky cabins, boring instructors and lazy campers” kind of camp. This was an entirely different, unique experience.

Based around business and entrepreneurship, in an almost completely non-business-like setting, Camp Enterprise has been successfully run by the “7070/7080” District Rotarians for over 20 years. This year, 63 students ranging from Grade 10 to 12 from as far west Orangeville to as far east as East Gwillimbury jumped into Camp Enterprise headfirst and came out of the water with a new perspective on business, people and life.

Certainly the best and most challenging activity came on the second day. All the campers were divided into 8 groups and secluded from each other around the campgrounds to come up with a small business, which was to be presented to four bankers from the Bank of Montreal that night. After a long day of brainstorming, planning, and perfecting, the businesses were born. Some great ideas for these small businesses included a premium gas delivery service (as if gas isn’t expensive enough!), a computer tutoring service, a youth nightclub, and my group’s project (and therefore my favourite!), a retirement home educator company. Seeing the ingenuity and presentation skills of the students was truly amazing.

Some other activities that we took part in were labour-management negotiations, which are quite the challenge, a talk with Tayler Parnaby, the main voice of CFRB 1010, a talk with Donna Messer, the president of ConnectUs Communications Canada and quite possibly one of the most dynamic and interesting persons I’ve ever had the chance to meet in my life, rock climbing and high-ropes courses, and the Business Game, to name a few. All of these activities gave each camper a chance to interact with successful people who have a strong interest in sharing their experiences with us, while having fun all the while.

All in all, every attendee made some new friends and shared in experiences that they will undoubtedly never forget. I personally enjoyed the time I spent at Camp Enterprise immensely, and I will continue on in my life in whatever I choose to do remembering the lessons and knowledge that I gained. Of course, none of this could have ever happened without the funding from the 7070/7080 District Rotary Club and the support of the many Rotarians who took it upon themselves to attempt (successfully, I might add!) to control 63 teenagers on this overnight excursion. Some key people that I would like to acknowledge are Doug Witherspoon, Réal Gagnon, Jamie Maynard, and all of the others who took it upon themselves to Camp Enterprise a wonderful learning experience.

For any high school student considering a career in the business field, I strongly suggest attending Camp Enterprise. It far exceeded both my expectations and the expectations of all that I met. Ask your business teacher, your guidance counsellor, or whoever would be able to get their hands on an application for next year’s Camp Enterprise and apply. If you learn only two things at Camp Enterprise, it will be that the business world is not as “cut and dry” as it seems, and that the Rotary Club is one of the greatest, most supportive organizations ever to exist. After all, they fully sponsored all of the 63 attendees that came to Camp Enterprise at $350 per person and donated enough money for 20 kids to be inoculated for polio for every guest speaker they brought in. In fact, they are close to completely eradicating polio all over the world through their quarter-century old PolioPlus campaign! If learning these two things takes spending four days at a camp, then it is definitely worth it. You may even consider joining Rotary or one of it’s affiliated organizations (if you’re a teenager, look for an Interact club in your school) and making it an integral part of your life like I am.

However, these two things will not be the only things you learn at Camp Enterprise, and I can guarantee that. The three simple things you have to do to truly believe this are apply for Camp Enterprise, be accepted and see for yourself.

Ryan Kelly is a student in Grade 11 at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill. He is an avid baseball player, the Head of the Music Council at his school, an honour roll student and plans on pursuing either business or accounting in university.

Posted in Testimonials

The Camp Enterprise Experience!

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