Get Ready Now! Money-Making Idea for the Enterprising Teen or Pre-teen
By Debra L. Karplus
It’s frustrating being too old for summer camp, but too young to drive and have a real job. Gathering together with friends at the mall, every day, stops being fun after awhile.
A summer with some structure and meaningful activity can be more satisfying.
You probably had a lemonade stand when you were old enough to differentiate a quarter from a dime. Maybe some neighbors paid you for lawn mowing. Possibly you did some babysitting and enjoyed being around little kids. There are some other ways that teens can earn money.
Think bigger. Think entrepreneur. If you live an area with young children and are a bit enterprising, you may be a natural for starting a summer camp for preschoolers and young elementary-age neighborhood children. Many mothers work or need some time away from their little ones to buy groceries, run errands, or have doctor or personal appointments. The opportunity for their tots to attend your camp will give parents a needed break.
Getting started involves a few simple decisions.
Being prepared before the summer begins will assure greater success at your enterprise. You’ll want to do some initial planning before you inform your let your community that their children have a new opportunity for summer fun. Consider the who, what, where, when, and why of starting a camp.
Who will attend your camp is an important first decision. What ages will you include?
Most three year olds have been potty-trained for awhile, and can verbalize needs; many have attended preschool and interact well with peers. You probably don’t want to include children younger than that in your camp. Determine a maximum age, too.
Some children have special needs and possibly language or behavior issues because of disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Autism. With some, the problems are obvious and may be more than you can handle. But many children with these issues do fine and will thrive in your summer program. Remember that disability is different from illness. Kids with colds or other health issues shouldn’t be allowed to attend. It’s simply unfair to the other children.
Additionally, you’ll want to get an initial idea of which neighborhood children might attend your program, with names, ages, and parent contact information; then parents decide on a daily basis if their children will be coming. They’ll appreciate your flexibility and your camp will gain an excellent reputation.
What to name your camp and how much to charge are a few logistical issues to be considered. Frankly, it’s okay not to have any name for your camp. Or, it might be fun to give your camp some clever name.
Having an assistant, such as a friend, cousin or sibling, will determine the maximum number of campers you can handle each day. It’ll also help calculate a reasonable price to charge. This can be tricky, so solicit the advice of some adults. How often will you get paid by parents? Will they pay in advance or at the end of each day? Since you probably know these families, it’s acceptable to accept checks as well as cash.
Deciding where to hold camp is essential. You can have camp at a nearby park. Or, if your backyard seems relatively distraction-free, that’s a good place, if the weather cooperates. Possibly your garage appears safe to host campers occasional rainy days. You’ll need to decide if you’ll walk around the neighborhood and pick- up campers, or if parents will deliver them to your location.
When camp is being held is a question that parents will ask. Two hours in the morning should accommodate the attention span of even the youngest campers. You’ll have to decide if you want to have camp two, three, or fine days a week. You also need to determine how many weeks to hold camp and which week to start.
Informing parents why you have camp is what marketing is all about. You can design a flyer for distributing to potential camper families that discusses logistics about time and place as well as activities. You may also want to create a website to describe camp.
Planning day- to- day matters is important.
How will you entertain a bunch of little kids for two hours for several days during the summer? Simple inexpensive activities such as singing and games, and arts and crafts, making masks from paper plates, for example, or puppets from paper bags, are fun. Affordable snacks can include crackers and juice served in small cups.
A perfect summer job for an enterprising preteen or teen, starting a summer camp has the potential to earn hundreds of dollars for the two or three years before you’re old enough for employment. Talk to your parents to get their support.