On a hot summer day, quenching your thirst with a glass of lemonade is one way to cool down.
Recently, at Girls Inc. of Jackson County in Seymour, more than 200 girls involved in a summer camp manned lemonade stands outside the facility, giving family, friends and the public a chance to buy a different flavor each day.
While the project offered fun, it also was a lesson in entrepreneurship. Four groups, from kindergartners to middle-schoolers, came up with a name for their stands, the type of lemonade they wanted to offer, pricing and decorating.
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They also learned about advertising and marketing and had to decide how to spend the profits.
For Karlie Henderson’s Ladybugs, consisting of second- and third-graders, they chose to use some of the money for a pizza party and give the rest to the Humane Society.
“It just made me proud of them because to see them when they first come in at the beginning of the summer … and by the end of the summer, they are just like completely different kids,” said Henderson, a program director at Girls Inc. “It’s just heartwarming to see how they change from being around other kids and picking up the habits from other kids.”
This is the second summer Girls Inc. has offered the lemonade stands as an entrepreneurship project during summer camp. Local Masons helped make the stand as a Jackson County United Way Day of Caring project.
“We’re doing it again because it’s such a success for the girls,” said Brenda Tracy, executive director of Girls Inc. “For a kindergartner or a first-grader to come up with a business plan, that’s really cool.”
From 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 1 to July 31, girls attend summer camp and participate in a variety of activities and classes, including Silly Science, Creative Cooking and Crafty Chicks. They are all national programs based on STEM curriculum — science, technology, engineering and math.
“Every activity that they do has a purpose of their learning,” Tracy said. “The summer learning loss that they talk about, we’re closing that gap here because they might work on math. They had to work on math to do this (lemonade stands) project.”
But in these classes, the girls aren’t being graded.
“There’s no pressure,” Tracy said. “They are just having fun, but it’s all that learning. Maybe some of them want to be an entrepreneur someday, and they’ll have an idea of what it’s like to have their own business and everything. But if not, they’ve had fun, they’re learning to work as a team, learning to get along, setting a goal and working toward that.”
Every Friday this summer, they spent time planning the lemonade stands. The first week, each group came up with a list of names. They narrowed them down the next week and voted on the final choice.
The Fireflies (kindergarten and first grade) came up with Lemon Princess; the Ladybugs went with Sweet ‘N Swirly Lemonade; the Butterflies (fourth through sixth grade) decided on Ninja Lemons; and the Girls Inc. Teens (seventh and eighth grades) chose Hawaiian Breeze.
A different group set up shop each day, serving lemonade for three or four hours in the afternoon. Four girls manned the booth for a short period of time before rotating. When they weren’t selling, they were inside working on a craft.
Two groups sold Country Time lemonade, while one made cotton candy lemonade, and the other sold berry lemonade.
Bailey Bohall, 7, and 8-year-olds Gracie Adams, Bailey Barr and Marley Blocker of the Ladybugs worked the Sweet ‘N Swirly Lemonade stand together.
Bailey Bohall said she liked making the lemonade mix and then getting to help sell it, while Gracie said she liked helping get everything together to sell.
Bailey Barr and Marley both said their favorite part was selling the product to customers. They also offered suckers for 15 cents apiece.
“Be as nice as you can and smile,” Bailey Barr said.
“I liked selling it to people. They were nice,” Marley said.
The four girls weren’t sure if being a businesswoman was in their future, but they agreed it was good to learn about it.
“Because if you grow up and you get a job and if you want to get a business, you have to know how to do it,” Gracie said.
Besides Henderson, Karra Lucas, Missy Perry and Kristi Banister helped lead the groups. Also helping with the project were college-age girls serving as Girls Inc. summer staff members.
Henderson said this is her fourth year of working at Girls Inc. in the summer, spending the first two years as a staff member and the past two as a program director. During the school year for the past two years, she has worked part time as the literacy coordinator while she attends nursing school at Indiana University Southeast.
“I’ve always wanted to do pediatrics, something with kids, and so I think it has kind of helped prepare me for my career, too, because you never know what (the girls) are going to say,” she said, smiling. “I think it has really helped.”
With the lemonade stands being a hit again this year, Tracy said, she expects Girls Inc. to do it again next summer.
“Because where else can girls get entrepreneurship skills like that, yet have so much fun with it?” she said.
Girls Inc. of Jackson County is a Jackson County United Way agency.
For information, stop by the facility at 956 N. O’Brien St. in Seymour, call 812-522-2798 or visit girlsincjackson.org.
Girls Inc. is open from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the summer.