This past summer our non-profit offered three separate weeks of innovative, iPad compatible programming for middle school and high school students. To say that each week exceeded even our lofty expectations, to say nothing of parents and students, would be an understatement! We had over 25 students attend the weeklong camp, which covered cash flow management, credit and debt management, investing and portfolio analysis, balance sheet analysis, job skills readiness (writing a resume, interviewing tips, and attire do’s and don’ts), etiquette and manners, life planning (setting and achieving goals), entrepreneurship, and financial planning case studies, among many others. Obviously, students were also given an opportunity to play kid-friendly games during breaks, including Angry Birds, Paper Toss, Water Slide, and Temple Run, among others.
In addition to these topics being covered each week, we took participants on several field trips and memorable experiences in our 14 passenger LFYO Mercedes Benz Education Cruiser, equipped with leather recliners, Sony Wii, and DirecTV . . .
Kroger’s: Participants learned how to shop efficiently and eat healthy while selecting grains, produce, dairy, and poultry strategically placed around the perimeter of the store.(Did you know that the less healthy items are typically found in the middle of the store?)
Chick-fil-A: Franchise operators Mark and Brenda Bolumen welcomed campers to the Broad Street location. Participants enjoyed lunch and received “nuggets” of inside information on the opportunities and challenges of franchising.
Chile Verde Cafe: Owner-operator of one of the city’s finest Mexican restaurants, Tom Anthony, presented participants with an inside look on running a successful business, and of course, fed them a really healthy and delicious lunch!
(Week 2 & 3)
John Sestina and Company: Stephen Lukan and Tyler Cook, both highly acclaimed certified financial planners, shared their keys of success with participants in the area of financial planning.
(Week 2 and 3)
Bon Vie at Easton: Campers learned the art of fine-dining etiquette and manners over a four-course meal at one of the city’s classiest establishments.
(Week 1, 2, & 3)
Apple Store Easton Town Center: Business Manager, Adam Prater, discussed the genius behind Apple’s cutting-edge products. Mr. Prater challenged this group of inspiring entrepreneurs, “How can Apple products and services take your business to the next level?”
The Diamond Cellar: David Johnson gave students an enlightening tutorial on jewelry and other “luxury” indulgences, and even allowed some of them to try on a $100,000 diamond ring and Rolex watch.
Bradford Culinary School: Daniel Reese Sr., Director of Operations, discussed exciting culinary careers as a chef or restaurant manager as well as the steps required to pay for school.
(Week 2 and 3)
Merrill Lynch Easton: Financial advisor and certified financial planner, Greg Munster, highlighted the “secrets” of investing and wealth management.
The Columbus Foundation: Steven Moore discussed the difference between charity and philanthropy as well as the importance of legacy planning to support causes near and dear to an individual’s/family’s heart.
(Week 1, 2, & 3)
The Golf Depot: Manager and golf pro, Larry Herrmann, gave participants an interactive golf lesson while sharing insightful commentary on the business of running a successful golf course.
(Week 2 & 3)
Perhaps the most eye-opening field trip was The Columbus Foundation. Campers thoroughly enjoyed what it truly means to give back even with a “receiver” mindset. Strategically, we placed this field trip toward the end of the week since they learned through various program modules how to make (Monday), manage (Tuesday), and grow (Wednesday) money for the first three days, and now on Thursday must think about making a lasting difference in their respective communities through volunteering or charitable giving.
To continue the importance of giving back to those less fortunate, we invite past participants in our summer program to tutor students in math at the Westside Boys and Girls Club of Columbus and other organizations that serve disadvantaged youth. It has left an indelible impression in their minds while reflecting on how the “other half” lives. This is another residual benefit of our 2012 Financial Life Skills Summer Program to help young people in their personal and moral development. (I grew up on the Westside of Columbus and am a past Boys and Girls Club member. It was my second home, particularly since it granted me the opportunity to avoid the chaos at home and in our crime-ridden neighborhood. Same is true for many of the members today, unfortunately.)
Jeff HarrisClothing specialist and owner of F.O.R.E. S Clothiers, demonstrated an interactive lesson on grooming do's and don'ts and a mock interview scenario.
Stacy BurkeA third party mortgage negotiator and CEO of Restorative Financial Services, discussed the often misunderstood and undiagnosed emotions around money.
William White (left)former OSU and NFL star, highlighted the importance of sound money management principles at a young age while reflecting on the tragic financial mistakes made (and continue to be made) by mega-paid professional athletes.
Boyce SaffordDirector of Development for the City of Columbus, discussed the two attributes needed to survive and thrive in their personal, professional, and financial development . . . “Life is about math and words.”
Michelle Moore LFYO board member and President of More Marketing, talked about the importance of personal brand building as well as the pros and cons of social media.
Outcome Measurement: Improvement in Financial Knowledge
Participants were given a challenging pre- and post-test to gauge their level of financial knowledge before and at the conclusion of the summer program. The average improvement in aggregate financial knowledge was over 150 percent, with some students experiencing a 500 percent or more improvement! We take tremendous pride in being able to speak the language of our audience while breaking down complex subjects and topics into manageable parts.
Reality Days (cash flow management) – 170 percent
The Real Deal on Wealth (credit and debt management) – 226 percent
Investigating Investments (building wealth in the stock market) – 67 percent