Who are tomorrow's biz leaders?
Want to know who our business leaders of tomorrow will be?
Just hang out with some 61 Blooming Prairie Elementary School second graders. They were a part of a Blooming Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce Junior Entrepreneur Program last week. See story elsewhere in this issue of The Times.
The program, started by Sportstitch owner Linda Klemmensen just over 20 years ago, is a lively, hands-on program that introduces kids to the business world.
Yes, it would be easy just to buy a already printed manual on junior entrepreneurship, but it's more effective when it is home grown and that's what the Blooming Prairie program is -- home grown.
Years ago, the Junior Entrepreneur Program was structured with fictitious businesses.
Klemmensen has used actual Blooming Prairie businesses and people to tell the story of Blooming Prairie's diversified business and industry community.
The Blooming Prairie Junior Entrepreneur program is quite impactful, say second grade teachers Diane Pfieffer, Kim Lea and Denise Hadrath. The hands-on approach is welcomed by the students, says Pfieffer.
Klemmensen has recruited her daughter Rachel of New York Life and Michelle Vigeland of F & M State Bank to help with the tutoring over a five-day class period time of 45 minutes each day.
This is the second year I have been in the classroom during the Junior Entrepreneur teaching time. I'm so impressed with the thinking processes that go on when the JE teachers from the chamber come into the room.
The students learn how to develop a business, and they also learn about banking and about how to financially manage their businesses.
Benefits gleaned from the program include understanding how the value of goods is created.
A highlight of the program is a tour of the Blooming Prairie City Center. While there, the second graders meet BP Chamber executive director Becky Noble, Mayor Curt Esplan and City Administrator Andrew Langholz.
The kids also had a chance to meet a firefighter, a police officer and an EMT (Emergency Technical Services) individual. While at the center, the students were paid $25 for their involvement in the cookie factory. Then, Mayor Esplan took $10 from each student to show them they had to pay for city services.
Police Corporal Jake Peterson then took the kids on a tour of the police station.
It is so rewarding to see a local community grooming its young students for the business world. Even if they don't enter the business world, they have an understanding of it.
Oh, the kids also stopped at The Bakery on their way back to the classroom and got the chance to buy a cookie.
Thanks Linda Klemmensen for providing this program, which gives second graders an overview of the Blooming Prairie community. Thanks also go to the BP Elementary School teachers and to the BP school district for endorsing this program.