the simple minded suburbanite

April 26, 2011, 1:07 pm
Filed under: collaboratation, parenting, social entrepreneur | Tags: ,

We are not a camp family.  I’ve never been able to take the February rush to enroll my children in back to back summer camps for the supposed development of all of their talents and interests.  Wheel throwing, chess, vetrinary camp, rock climbing, vacation bible school, sports skills, let alone sleep away which you have to think about in October of the preceeding year.  When the kids were younger, they were glued to Mommy’s side.  They couldn’t think of a worse misery than to be dropped off in some church gym to learn line dancing with a bunch of kids they’d never met.  Summer was for relaxing: swimming, sleeping in, gardening, exploring, books, art projects, and naps…oh, and chores.  As they’ve grown older we do throw in one or two based on their evolving interests but leave room for the relaxing part.

But last year was the first year I felt the kids were a teensy bit bored, so I vowed to up the camp anty. My oldest requested a sleep away camp ( I was so proud!  This a child who would not get off my criss-crossed applesauce lap for three years of “play group”!).  My youngest requested a cooking camp.  My middle…nothing. 

 But, despite my good intentions and an endless barage of emails from well-meaning friends who wanted our kids in the same class, I still did not get off my duff and make the committment.  I got nothin’.  I got a trip to visit family and one $35/week vbs for my 6 yo and nuttin’ else.  Why?   Dunno.

Then it hit me. I have been talking about having community service be a larger part of our family’s life.  My kids are always contriving ways to soak the neighborhood’s spare change through garage sales and lemonade stands.  They are getting older and I worry about their future.  Will college be enough?  I am raising conscious kids?  My idea: kids social entrepreneurs!

My mom had sent me the link about a year ago, and now I am going to put the wheels in motion.  The program teaches kids about social entrepreneurship…make money by doing good, doing good by making money.  It has work books, free games, links etc…  It’s amazing and exciting and, I believe, the way of the future.  Kids can create “Kid Cafes” at the neighborhood pool, or have a dog walking service.  They choose their business.  They choose how they want to do good with it.  Do they want to use the money made at the nieghborhood kid cafe to start one at a local shelter?  Do they want to use their dog walking money to buy dog food for the local SPCA?  They decide.  They develop the concept.  They earn.  We are doing it with another family, to make it fun, and to further inspire them will pay each kid 10cents for every dollar they earn for charity.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with.  Looking forward to another “campless” summer!


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