Camp trade show in Niverville

Community Futures Triple R, based in Morris is being praised for an event held this last summer. Business Development Manager Dayna Lalchun says Community Futures Manitoba has awarded them the 2011 Minister's Award For Excellence And Innovation.

The award comes as a result of business camps in summer which taught children the basics of business, giving them $20 each to purchase supplies and create a product to sell at a market. Lalchun says she got the idea for this project while in Nova Scotia and thought it could be successful here. The camps were held in Niverville and St.Malo for kids age 9-13. "As a pilot project we didn't really know what the age group would be like," admits Lalchun. "Would the nine year olds be too young and the thirteen year olds be too old for the group? What we found was just a fabulous mix. The kids worked so well together and they had this kind of really great energy about them. And some of their product ideas were just phenomenal."

Lalchun says the campers sold a variety of products that ranged from sock puppet kits to heavenly brownies and flowers in a cup to chainmail bracelets. One youth even designed, wrote and sold a video game. Approximately seven kids took part in each camp. Lalchun says they had a great turnout at their camp trade shows. "In Niverville we had about 120 people out and all of the kids sold out of their product." She notes the amount of money made ranged from about $35-115.

Lalchun says they're very proud to receive the Minister's Award. "It is an award within the Community Futures organization that really recognizes something innovative or a different contribution that really goes out there and helps economic development and supporting the communities. So the project we feel had kind of a different approach because it was really looking at helping children."

When asked what this mean's to the organization, Lalchun says "it just validates that the camp was a good idea and that it's nice that Community Futures recognizes it as a success. But I think the real value was in seeing how excited the campers were and in them going out there and learning about that seed of entrepreneurship which hopefully will take them into full fledged businesses in later years."

Community Futures is already planning business camps for 2012. With camps taking place in Dominion City and La Salle, Lalchun says they hope to host camps in different locations of the region over the next few years.