[r76] Lemonade stand operator today, CEO tomorrow (7/5/2011)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Start Date: 7/5/2011 All Day
End Date: 7/5/2011

Lemonade stand operator today, CEO tomorrow

Summer vacation is in its prime, which means it's once again time for kids to bring out the old folding table, grab some lemons and ice and start perfecting the classic recipe for lemonade. For decades, kids have participated in the  American tradition of opening a lemonade stand in the summer months, allowing them to hone their entrepreneurial skills and hopefully turn a profit.

As I have been driving around our community seeing kids run lemonade stands, I am struck by two things: One the price of a cup of lemonade has increased since I was in my front yard selling, and two that many kids are not raising money to go buy ice-cream later, but rather raising money for charity. 

Many lessons are learned when operating a lemonade stand.  These operations are the training ground for the business world; in essence, these kids are running micro-businesses. Managing a lemonade stand teaches an array of skills ranging from organization to perseverance to learning the necessity of hard work in being successful.

An extra lesson is being learned by those children who open their stands to donate the proceeds to charity; they are learning the joy of giving back, which is exactly what a few children were doing in Bethesda, Maryland. 

On private property, a friend's yard, these kids opened a stand to raise money for pediatric cancer. This front yard did however happen to be across from the Congressional Country Club, the site of this year's U.S. Open.

Let me highlight, these kids were not greedy capitalists, but rather kids selling lemonade to give to charity. Unfortunately on their first day, the stand was cited and operations shut down. What was the problem you ask, with kids wanting to raise money for other children fighting cancer?

What these kids did not take into consideration was the law that required them to register their lemonade stand with the county.

In the defense of the officials, the stand was located in a high traffic area and could have created a traffic hazard.  Upon reconsideration by local officials, I am pleased to report that a resolution was reached and the stand reopened allowing the kids to continue on with their entrepreneurial/charitable project.

Luckily in our community no lemonade stands are being shut down, which is good because a few Fridays ago the Easter Seals' kids held their 16th annual LemonAid Stand to raise money for the center that many of them have attended for years.  It is inspiring to see these kids, who have faced many challenges in their young lives, want to give back.

The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center is a wonderful center that provides needed care to many children. This year's LemonAid Stand was yet again a booming success. Congrats to all the Easter Seals children for their hard work and to those in our community who came out to support their cause.  

It is important to encourage creativity and to the foster a child's entrepreneurial spirit.  By allowing kids to open lemonade stands or create mini businesses, we cultivate the inventors and leaders of tomorrow. 

This session, legislation was authored which creates a young entrepreneur program. The goal of the program is to promote the business proposals of students graduating from entrepreneurship programs across the state. Through the program, at least one preview would be held each year to allow communities to bid for the opportunity to bring a young entrepreneur's business to their community.

One of the key benefits of this program is that it enables us to keep our most promising young entrepreneurs here in our state by developing their ideas and implementing them into our communities.

Encouraging a young child to open a lemonade stand and to try out their business savvy  is a great way for them to expand their skill set and what better time to learn a few diverse skills than in the summer.  You just never know when you buy that cup of lemonade what that budding entrepreneur might go onto create, it might even be a business developed in your community.