Philadelphia Church Hosts Business Boot Camp for Youth

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What did you do on your summer vacation? Some kids may boast camping trips or all-day pool visits. Few can say, “I created a new kind of donut.”

Tatyana and Saiyeh work on creating a logo for their donut.

But that’s just what a group of participants did at a Philadelphia, Penn., Business Boot Camp.

The two-week summer program, sponsored by host church By Grace Alone Christian Reformed Church, was developed by Pearl Wang-Herrera to teach 10- to 14-year-olds business concepts integrating Christian principles.

“We want to teach our youth that business is fun and that God has given them gifts and abilities to have a business that honors him,” said Pastor Gabriel Wang-Herrera, Pearl’s husband. “In a community where fewer than 50 percent of kids finish high school and 3 percent finish college, Pearl believes that businesses that honor God can have a great impact on people and the community.”

What better way to introduce this idea than through creating a new donut? Kids were divided into groups; each group was assigned an adult mentor to guide the group with its tasks. This year the mentors ranged from a police officer who is starting a bicycle repair business to a couple who owns and runs a photography framing company.

As the groups worked together on developing their donut, they also had to come up with a name, logo, slogan, marketing campaign, pricing strategy, and a commercial. In addition, kids had to keep in mind how their business would impact the community. Throughout the week, the program’s theme, based on 1 Timothy 4:12, was incorporated into the lessons so that participants could strive to honor God through their product.

“We are teaching kids basic business concepts, but more importantly, we are teaching them to work together,” said Gabriel. “The kids learn hands-on how to lead others based on a biblical model through serving and encouraging.”

Creating a product was only part of Business Boot Camp. Participants also practiced the concept of tithing and giving back by selling water, ice, and lemonade on the streets of Philadelphia, giving the $100 they earned to a Kenyan orphanage.

The church was assisted by teams from two other churches: Sunnyslope CRC in Salem, Oregon, and Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Mich.

The results of all that hard work? Three new flavors of donuts: Philly Cheesecake, Donut XS, and Rainbow Donut.

About the Author

Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.

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