Earlier this month on May 1, kids all across Texoma and the country participated in Lemonade Day! Lemonade Day founder Michael Holthouse says, “America was built on the back of small business. Entrepreneurs take risks believing they can realize their dream if they work hard, take responsibility and act as good stewards of their resources. Today’s youth share that optimism, but lack the life skills, mentorship and real-world experience necessary to be successful.” So, in 2007, Michael had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business…a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day is a strategic 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the same principles required to start any big company. Inspiring kids to work hard and make a profit, they are also taught to spend some, save some and share some by giving back to their community. Since it’s launch in 2007 in Houston Texas, Lemonade Day has grown from serving 2,700 kids in one city to 1 million children across North America.
I visited with local mom Angie Ohmstede, whose two sons participated in Lemonade Day right here in Texoma! Angie, who is the HR director at our fabulous sponsor, Texoma Community Credit Union, saw this as an opportunity to help teach her boys financial responsibility and real world life skills. When approached by another mom in her boys’ circle of friends about the idea of participating, she talked to her boys about the opportunity for them to learn how to start and operate a business, and that they would get to learn what it feels like to go to work and bring home a paycheck. When she explained that they would actually get REAL money for working their business, their response was an enthusiastic, “Oh I’m in!”
“I’m confident at that point they only cared about the money!” Angie says. “As a parent, I believe it’s never too soon to teach a child what it looks like to work hard and the fundamentals of managing money (even lemonade money!)”.
When Lemonade Day’s “Bank Lending Day” was held, she took the boys up to Texoma Community Credit Union so that they could physically take out a small loan that would help jump start their business. There were multiple financial institutions ready to help the young entrepreneurs, but Ohmstede’s chose TCCU because of their positive experience as members there. The boys were able to select the dollar amount they wanted to borrow ($25-$30 each) and sign a contract that included a due date. It was an experience they really enjoyed; one of the boys, who LOVES money, chose to take out the full loan amount, while the other, realizing he would to pay it back, only wanted to borrow a dollar. Smart kid!
When I asked TCCU marketing director Lauren McKechnie why they decided to be involved, she said, “Our mission as a credit union is to “build a community where everyone is given the tools to become RICH. (Ready, Independent, Charitable, and Happy).” This is just one way we can give back to the community by starting young and teaching kids to be responsible with money. (It) affects their entire lives! It is a lot easier to start out as a young adult with good financial habits then to try to fix the aftermath of bad habits later on down the road – IE credit card debt, and the lesson of compound interest on savings. The sooner you start saving, the better!” The credit union, always eager to help the community, also served as a stand day location for the group “Next Gen Lemonade”!
So, start up money in hand, the entire group of eight boys met with their mommy mentor, Kristin Howard, who guided them through various business decisions. They discussed and selected a theme (Little Rascals), their hours of operations, how much they would charge, etc. They even decided ahead of time what they would do with their profits! Each boy took a turn stating what they wanted to do and it was decided that they would split the profit equally and then individually decide how much of that profit they would keep, and how much they would donate to charity. Some of the dads helped the boys build their lemonade stand, giving them the opportunity to work with their hands!
On Lemonade Day, the kids set up their stand and began selling to each person that walked by. They quickly realized about 30 minutes into it that four hours was going to be a LONG work day! (Just wait till you’re older, boys!) They were wanting to take breaks and longer lunches. They eventually established a routine and worked together as a team by each person taking on a different task. At the end of the day, the Little Rascals profited $800 (after the loan proceeds were taken out) from their lemonade sales and donations. Angie says one of her boys chose to give $20 of his money as tithes and offerings at church and the other $80 to Children’s Miracle Network, while the other chose to spread his a little further, giving $20 as tithes and offerings, $20 to Faith Mission, $20 to the Humane Society, $20 to Children’s Miracle Network and the other $20 as savings for himself.
Once finished, it was time to pay back the money they’d borrowed! “When I took the boys to the credit union to pay back their loan, they were treated just like members! It was so precious to see them listening intently to the Marketing Director at TCCU (who gave them their loan) explain the process of paying back a loan. She verified their cash and wrote “paid in full” on their loan contract. To go a little further, TCCU offered them a deal: they could pay off their loan and leave it at that, or they could use the loan money to open a savings account and learn even more about the importance of financial management. They asked questions about interest and what an account looked like. I wish I would have had such a sweet opportunity as this when I was young!”
What an amazing opportunity! Angie says she is thankful for the huge impact it made on their future in so many ways. At the young ages of seven and eight, they now have such an accurate understanding of how hard you have to work to earn a dollar, the concept of borrowing money, and the importance of savings (not to mention how it can benefit your future).
Texoma Community Credit Union, hats off to you for helping make this experience real! Your investment into the lives of even our youngest community members is a shining example of what a credit union should be! I think it’s safe to say that Lemonade Day in Texoma was a hit!
Want to know more about Lemonade Day and help your kids have a stand next year? Visit the Lemonade Day site for more information!