When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Then set up a stand, market it, sell it and start a tidy nest egg. That’s the philosophy behind Lemonade Week, a local initiative that uses a time-honored tradition to teach children about entrepreneurship, philanthropy and fiscal responsibility.
The Duree Center for Entrepreneurship, which is housed at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, is spearheading Lemonade Week, a program that introduces kids to the concept of money management. Based on the national Lemonade Day program, Lemonade Week teaches children about the importance of balancing spending with saving and giving to others.
"Young children, high school kids and adults, we provide programs that are designed to encourage their interest in entrepreneurship," said David Rosenwasser, Duree Center director. "The Lemonade Week program was a phenomenal fit for that."
Due to the popularity of the program, which is now in its third year in St. Charles County, organizers have expanded it to include St. Louis and Metro East. Officials with the Duree Center hope to have 1,000 local lemonade stands participating throughout the region Sept. 1-7. The program has grown from a one-day event to a weeklong program to accomodate families' schedules and weather.
According to Trevor Rees, information resource manager for business services and public management at the St. Charles City/County Library, the program is a fun way to enrich the community by teaching young people valuable business skills.
"We hope that children will learn practical skills on how to run and operate a business," Rees said. "In addition we hope the children and their families have fun creating their stands and serving lemonade to the public."
Participation in the program is limited to 2,000 lemonade stands. Participants can visit any branch of the St. Charles City-County Library to register for the free program. When registering, children will receive a free backpack, mentor guide and user guide. St. Charles City-County Library will also offer optional training sessions for children and teens Aug. 3, Aug. 5 and Aug. 10. For a list of library branch locations or to register for a training session visit youranswerplace.org.
In addition to the profits earned from their lemonade stands, children can compete for prizes in four categories: top grossing, best-looking stand, best theme and a taste test challenge. When it comes to developing a winning strategy, sometimes the classic lemonade stand is hard to beat.
"We had kids who did as basic as a wagon with a lemonade sign and paper cups, and it did quite well," Rosenwasser said.