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Camp Innoventure helps kids explore turning their business ideas into reality

  • By Amanda Bradford
  • 575-646-3223
  • ambradfo@nmsu.edu
  • May 09, 2013
Students sell craft items at the downtown farmers market.
Looking for a summer camp for your child that teaches life skills they can apply in school and beyond? Camp Innoventure offers young entrepreneurs a chance to see their creative ideas go from concept to reality and gives them a taste of real-world competition for success.

Camp Innoventure, run by New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Center, shows students what it's like to start their own business, taking them through the planning and development process and letting them sell their finished products in a real market setting.

The weeklong session has the middle school students brainstorming ideas, writing their mission statement and drafting a business plan before creating a product to sell at the Saturday morning Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market on the camp's final day.

"It's a good lesson for students to understand that the quality of what they're offering makes a difference," said Marie Borchert, director of Innoventure at Arrowhead Center.

Camp Innoventure is modeled after Arrowhead's annual Innoventure competition, which encourages students from across the state to use science, technology, engineering and math to solve business problems and create new and innovative products that may have real marketability.

Borchert said one goal of the camp is to show the students that quality matters when they're producing and marketing their products. She noted many of the students have only ever received feedback from supportive people like their parents and teachers. When strangers deciding whether or not to buy a product are measuring their work, it can be an eye-opener for the students.

"They're putting something out there for people to judge the quality," she said. "It can be such a fantastic experience for a young person to realize that something they created has value to someone else. Even if they don't succeed in making as many sales, they learn from that experience."

Trying, failing, learning from failure, and trying again – that's not always easy to teach in a classroom, she said.

"If we believe experience is the best teacher, we need to give students more experiences such as this," she added. "That lesson is important, not just for business, but for life."

Camp Innoventure will be held in two sessions: June 3 to 8 and June 10 to 15, from 9 a.m. to noon each day. The $40 cost includes materials for the student's project, plus a workbook and Camp Innoventure backpack. Registration ends for the first session on May 30 and for the second on June 5.

Only 12 students are accepted for each session, so early registration is encouraged. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for students. For scholarship information or to register for the event, contact Borchert at 575-646-7839 or sign up online at www.2013campinnoventure.eventbrite.com.