Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Aug. 10, 2022

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Vancouver Chamber’s Lemonade Day gives kids a chance to become CEOs

When life gives you lemonade, start your own business

By , Columbian staff writer
9 Photos
Young entrepreneur Lucy Hackett, 11, along with her mentor Casey Anderson, shows her painted birds and braiding skills at her business, Lucy's Lucky Birds and Braids, on Saturday at Esther Short Park.
Young entrepreneur Lucy Hackett, 11, along with her mentor Casey Anderson, shows her painted birds and braiding skills at her business, Lucy's Lucky Birds and Braids, on Saturday at Esther Short Park. (James Rexroad for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Vancouver’s Lemonade Day was sprinkled with far more than booths selling sugar, lemon and water concoctions.

More than 150 children, ranging from 6 to 16 years old, displayed their imaginative creations and entrepreneurial zeal Saturday at the Junior Market, an enclave nudged against the Vancouver Farmers Market. Booths lined Esther Short Park and featured goods like ceramics, scavenger hunt maps, painted crafts, plants, candles and jewelry.

Whatever the children earned, they got to keep.

The young entrepreneurs studied how to divide their funds: One-third must be saved, one-third is donated to a charity of their choice, and the remaining amount may be used however they please.

They collectively made roughly $25,000 at the market, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Greater Vancouver Chamber Lemonade Day Program hosted the event to excite children about the prospect of owning and running their own business, said Janet Kenefsky, vice president of operations at the chamber and city director of Lemonade Day Greater Vancouver.

Months before the market, the young CEOs learned the basic principles of setting a goal, outlining how they would achieve it, and responsible money-management practices.

Sisters Ziarre, 14, and Zion McGuire, 13, and their cousin Bre Russ, 14, operated Skin Treats and Beaded Besties, booths that their grandmother helped inspire.

“She loves that we’re kind of carrying on tradition,” Ziarre McGuire said.

The businesswomen confidently delivered their pitch to sell handcrafted lotions and jewelry; it wasn’t their first time, as they’ve sold the goods at other markets and plan to expand their business. Ziarre and Zion’s mother learned alongside her daughters and niece, picking up fragments about proper business preparations and practices.

“More than anything, they have taught me by (having) the courage to say, ‘I want to try something new and put myself out there,’” she said. “And they do it.”

Lucy Hackett, owner of Lucy’s Lucky Birds and Braids, sold her braiding services and ceramic birds to support a cause she was passionate about. The 11-year-old donated $1 from every item she sold to the Humane Society because she adores animals, Hackett said. However, she also plans on saving money to buy a pair of white Air Force Ones.

Her mentor, Casey Anderson, said she loves seeing the young entrepreneurs navigate practical skills and make lemonade out of lemons, or turning a challenging situation into a valuable one. Anderson, who is a marketing manager for a local business, said the abilities the children gain through their interactions with patrons will have positive benefits beyond the market.

“I think that these are great skill sets that any kid can build on for future career opportunities,” Anderson said.

Anisha Sandeep, 8, learned how to organize her receipts, price her goods and take out a loan so she could invest in her hand cream booth. She and her mom, Sorba Sandeep, created a payment plan for her loan with a 3 percent interest rate, which Anisha Sandeep is certain she can cover.

An additional 850 children learned Lemonade Day lessons in school or at home from the event’s app or workbook in the past year. The program is free, so it can reach children regardless of their socioeconomic standing, and it can be taken at any time — not just in preparation for the Junior Market.

Kids who participate aren’t required to want to open a business when they grow up, as they can learn whether they want to navigate other prospects. Whether they become a CEO or a management lead, the fundamental lessons they learn from Lemonade Day can be useful in many facets of their personal and professional lives, Kenefsky said. Perseverance and adaptability are among many knowledgeable takeaways.

“A lot of these kids saw firsthand what it was like for parents to live paycheck to paycheck or lose their jobs,” she said, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to participants’ enthusiasm, the Vancouver Chamber has already reserved a space to host the Junior Market next year and is discussing hosting potential events around the holidays. Kenefsky said participants represented all ZIP codes in Clark County, so organizers hope to expand the event to other areas in the region.

The nationwide Lemonade Day program was launched in 2007 and encompasses 31 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other locations and territories. Southwest Washington joined the network in the fall of 2019, with its first in-person entrepreneur event being this year.


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