By Carolina Keating
It would not be summer in Texas without an ice-cold glass of lemonade to keep you cool in the sweltering heat. Thanks to the annual Lemonade Day program, there will be plenty of lemonade stands from which to purchase that glass of lemonade on May 3.
Lemonade Day is a national program founded in Houston in 2007. The program’s main focus is to inspire kids to learn about building a small business and accomplishing goals by helping them start, own, and operate their own business – a lemonade stand. Kids that participate in Lemonade Day are in complete control of their stand and learn about entrepreneurship by creating a budget, setting profit goals, serving customers, giving back to the community, and much more.
Four years after it’s inception in Houston, Lemonade Day debuted in the Bryan/College Station area in 2011.
“It seemed like something that would be ideal for the B/CS area,” says Lenae Scroggins, founder of the B/CS chapter of Lemonade Day. At the time, Scroggins was running the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University and she thought Lemonade Day was an excellent way for the center to get involved in working with younger kids.
“We were much more focused on students at A&M and not so much involved on the primary and secondary education level,” she says.
Scroggins worked with the original founder, Michael Holthouse, as well as local business owners to make the first Lemonade Day happen. Dave Fox, owner of Blue Baker, was one of those entrepreneurs.
“In general, we get involved mostly with groups and events that have to do with kids and what I thought was unique is that there is no other event that is really trying to teach entrepreneurs,” says Fox. Fox was sold on the idea and Blue Baker has been a sponsor of Lemonade Day since the B/CS chapter was founded.
While working on getting Lemonade Day off of the ground, Scroggins says she realized how much a program like this was needed. “Most kids don’t really learn this stuff at home and they don’t learn it at school either, so there is this big gap of learning. We are trying to fill that gap with Lemonade Day,” says Scroggins. “It teaches very, very valuable lessons. It is about setting a goal, making a plan, working the plan, and achieving the goal.”
Vanessa Sikorski, a parent who has helped her son, Clayton, participate in Lemonade Day for the past four years, agrees with Scroggins. “We like doing it because it teaches him how to plan, from start to finish, an idea and how to save his money,” Sikorski says.
Clayton, who changes the theme of his stand every year and has won several awards including “Best Imagination Stand,” “Best Stand,” and “Entrepreneur of the Year,” enjoys the whole process but particularly loves seeing all his hard work pay off.
“I like that there are a bunch of people that are friendly and nice that come by and get lemonade,” says Clayton. When asked if it is difficult to make his lemonade stand happen, there is a pause before he responds. “It takes a little thinking,” he says.
Lemonade Day also focuses on showing kids what they can do with the money they earn from their lemonade sales. “It’s a spend-a-little, save-a-little, share-a-little motto with Lemonade Day,” says Scroggins. After paying back their investors, participants can use the rest of the money they earn in any way they wish. However, Lemonade Day does encourage giving back to the community and Scroggins says a surprising amount of kids end up giving a large portion of their earnings to charities.
Although Lemonade Day is not until May 4, anyone interested in having his or her child participate can sign up online now at lemonadedaybcs.org. After registering, backpacks with all the information needed to guide parents and children through the Lemonade Day process will be available for pick up at local businesses sponsoring Lemonade Day. Those locations include Blue Baker, American Momentum Bank, Copy Corner, and Village Foods.
Blue Baker will also be hosting a “Best Tasting Lemonade” contest at their store on University Drive on Saturday, April 25, to help raise awareness of Lemonade Day.
“A lot of people don’t know about Lemonade Day until Lemonade Day and they always say they wish they had known about it sooner,” says Fox. “We are just trying to get people aware of the event.”
Scroggins wants to assure parents that anyone is capable of creating a lemonade stand.
“One of the biggest challenges is helping parent’s understand that this is not a monumental task to take on and that it brings the family together and is fun to work on together,” she says. She believes the effort more than pays off for the kids involved.
“The lemonade stand is the vehicle but the things kids learn at Lemonade Day is a template for teaching a lot of important things, including financial responsibility, the can use for the rest of their lives,” says Scroggins.
And as for Clayton’s theme this year? “It’s a surprise,” he says. “You’ll just have to come out and see it for yourself!”