Rotary Camp Enterprise – A Blend of Learning, Experiencing & Fun!
‘Inspirational, Educational and Fun’
These were some of the words used by the 56 students from grade 11 and 12 to describe their experience at the four-day action-packed Camp Enterprise in Bolton.
The camp which took place from April 23rd to April 26th was jointly hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Alliston, Aurora, Bolton, Brampton, Orangeville and Richmond Hill.
The camp gave students a deeper insight into the world of entrepreneurs. Everyone who attended had the opportunity to participate in interactive, fun activities while gaining hands-on experience in the business sector.
There was plenty of knowledge and trends associated with corporations shared during the activities.
More importantly this group of dynamic and motivated students developed and sharpened the important skills they will need as they move forward into college and university. Skills like team-building, intrapersonal communications and networking techniques that will help young entrepreneurs excel and grow as they move forward in their chosen professions.
Prominent motivational speakers including Taylor Parnaby from CFRB Radio, Jamie Maynard from Canadian Federation Of Independent Business, and the amazing Donna Messer from ConnectUs Canada were also a part of this unique experience. The students got valuable tips on how to succeed – directly from the pros. According to Jesse Rightmyer, an enthusiastic participant, “All the speakers inspired me; meeting new friends was an added bonus.”
The camp focused on three separate and different aspects of business. The first activity included seven small groups of students who spent all day inventing and planning out a new business. Each team got the opportunity to present the business plan to a team of Financial Brokers from the Bank of Montreal. The purpose was to secure a loan of $7500.00 maximum and to receive feedback on their plan. What a tremendous experience for everyone! We asked ourselves, “how many high school students get an opportunity to make a detailed and an in depth business case that’s almost ready to roll over and have professionals guidance from the experts?”
The next activity was yet another assignment to be completed with a team effort. The groups of students were either on the Management team or part of a Union. The scenario presented was that the workers of the company were on strike. Each group was given details on the strike and had to negotiate and find an amicable solution to come to terms and make decisions that best favored both sides. This activity was a perfect simulation of how companies deal with these types of conflicts in real life. The groups planned out their tactics, negotiated professionally and at times had heated and angry conversations.
The last core activity was a business game, once again in groups. This time the groups represented competing corporations who had to stay up-to-date with the market trends, plan out their procurement and/or sales strategies, hire and layoff workers and find ways of surviving in the ever changing economic climates.
Some may call it sheer luck as the situations were determined randomly by a turning wheel, but in the end the groups who worked strategically and applied their business knowledge and common sense were the ones to come on top.
Apart from these activities, the camp was entertaining and kept students engaged and enthusiastic all weekend long. “The camp was not just lecturing, it was fun! We watched movies, ate pizza, danced, and had plenty of outdoor activities,” said Mengheang Kea, a participant who immigrated from Cambodia in 2006. Mengheang was also chosen by the rest of the participants to receive the Leadership Award.
The camp activities assured students from all districts mingled and cemented lasting friendships.
According to another happy camper, Ravi Jammu, “It is unbelievable how we all became such good friends within a matter of two days. Especially when getting ready for the dance, all the girls were helping each other with makeup and hair – it was more like we have known each other for years!”
To top it all of, the catering services were excellent and delicious and healthy meals and snacks were provided throughout the day. Plenty of veggie and non-veg choices were available.
Jason Cherniak, a Rotarian from Richmond Hill, deserves credit for the tremendous effort he put into organizing and overseeing the entire event. When asked why he chose to take on such a huge responsibility, he replied “The camp reminded me of what it was like to be in school again, learning everyday and enjoying the process.”
His commitment and passion towards the event definitely showed as it turned out to be such a memorable experience for all the participants. Not only did the program run successfully, but a great deal of effort was also put into selecting the most energetic and best students from all of the districts, who shared nothing in common but an interest in business and learning.
Thanks to the Rotarians’ interviewing process, the group was a great mix of students. Students like Logan Stewart, whose dream is to work for an organization that trains workers in less developed countries in various trades so they can become self-sufficient. Or Angie Abdilla, who is already representing Canada internationally at a business competition, called DECA.
From everyone’s perspective , “It was a job well done!” Rotarians deserve a pat on the back for helping the participants gain an unforgettable experience and new friends for life.
As someone once said, “The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows.” The participants of the Camp Enterprise have undoubtedly embarked on a remarkable journey taking with them the knowledge, skills and friendships they have gained through this Rotary initiative.