Beyond the Lemonade Stand: Guiding Rules (Part I)

Friday, October 24, 2014

After going through the “Get to Give” questionnaire with Biz Camp students to get their buy-in -- discussed in my last “Lemonade Stand” blog -- I reviewed camp rules. I let participants know that these rules and expectations were non-negotiable, and there were consequences for breaking them, namely getting kicked out of the camp. Since the goal of the camp was to win a computer for each member of your team, that was a pretty big threat. And yes, in my 10 years of running the camp, I did ask some kids to leave. Not many, I had good kids and a good staff to help work through the sticking points.

Before the camp started, I had an orientation meeting for campers and their parents. It was a way for me to meet the parents and them to meet me. I went over all the rules the first time with everyone at this meeting. So, if a parent got a call to come pick up their child and not bring him/her back, they were not surprised.

At the second year orientation I heard two kids talking. One, we’ll call him Brad, had come to help out and had already gone through the camp. The other one, we’ll can him Rick, was going to participate that summer. Brad said to Rick about me, “Yeah, she doesn’t give you anything. You have to really work for everything you get. It was the hardest I have ever worked in my life, and I loved it!”

Yep, the rules work. Just make sure you stick to them.

Rule # 1: You will be expected to act like a business person since you will be learning about business. We will expect you to clean up after yourself after every hands-on project by throwing away the trash and putting supplies back where they belong. After you eat, throw out your garbage. Go to the restroom, put the paper towel in the trash bin after wiping up any water you splashed on the counter.

Rule #2: You will be assigned to a team. You will have to learn to work together to complete your final business plan. If you can’t get along with the members of your team, your team will probably lose. We will not remove members who don’t work well together. In business you will have to work on projects with people you do not like, and still have to find a way to succeed. Might as well learn how to do it now.

Rule #3: Life is not fair. There are winners and there are losers. While camp administration will create as level a playing field as we can to get things started, not everyone succeed. One team will win. The rest will lose. As Olympic gold medal winner Mia Hamm says, “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” Take what you learned at the camp and move on.

Rule #4: There is a dress code, follow it. Different businesses require different styles of dress. Some will require more formal clothing than others. Don’t buy new clothing for the camp, but be aware of what you have that will be applicable and age appropriate. You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression, and in today’s world you have seven seconds. Seven seconds that can possibly affect the rest of your business life. Past Biz Camp participants have made connections that have led to high school job shadow opportunities, college internships and post-college jobs.

These are the first four rules for the Biz Camp. There are four more to come. And a few hints for camp success. They will be my next blog.

At this point I need to mention Charles Sykes book “Dumbing Down Our Kids.” It explains the toughness of my rules above. This is his rule number four:
     “If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a
     boss. He doesn't have tenure.”

Lee Rennick is a freelance writer, former Vice-President of Marketing and past Executive Director of the Business Education Foundation of Rutherford County, TN. She shares her interests and knowledge about working, learning and living at

Photo from MorgueFiles.


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