By Suzanne Majors Davis Contributing writer Austin American-Statesman
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two 10-year-olds created their own summer camp that yes, other kids paid to attend! Each day of the camp had a theme. "Meet Monday" centered around activities to help kids get to know each other better while "Water Wednesday" found the girls making ocean-themed crafts.
How do you make money during the summer when you're 10 years old?
Two enterprising friends, Sara Jane Sims and Paige Sorrel, soon-to-be fifth graders at Forest Trail Elementary, hosted what they called "Camp Gingersnaps" for kindergartners and first graders at Sara Jane's home for one week this month.
Inspiration came while they were in the gifted and talented class at school.
"We were just doodling and thinking about summer and thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could do a camp for little girls,' Sara Jane said. "My mom said, 'That would be a great idea,' and both our moms said they'd help."
"We just started planning activities and things we could do with them," said Paige. Their moms emailed friends with school-age children in the targeted grades, and told them about their idea.
"We didn't want them to be too close to our age, or too young," Paige said.
Five girls went to "camp" from 9 a.m. to noon for five days, and each paid $75. All but one of the participants was from Forest Trail. The other was an acquaintance from dance class.
As the oldest in their families, both girls know what it is like to be counted on a little more. Listening to them talk about their preparations made it hard to believe they're only 10.
Both girls took some vacation time with their families at the beginning of the summer, but that didn't get in the way of planning.
"We Facetimed each other" when one or both was gone, Paige said. They also had sleepovers to brainstorm.
"We planned and tested out our activities beforehand," Sarah Jane said. "We set a stopwatch and acted like we were explaining to the girls, and we did the activities ourselves to see how long it would take, and matched that up with what we guessed.
"Each day there were 10 activities, including short ones that only took 10 or 15 minutes. It was a great group. They stayed focused," said Sara Jane.
Page agreed, saying, "It was great watching them have fun."
"After this experience, we decided to make "mom's helper" cards since we are too young to babysit," Sara Jane said. "But if parents are upstairs, and their kids are bored, we can play with them."
They already have some experience.
Each day of the camp had a theme. "Meet Monday" centered around activities to help kids get to know each other better. On "Tasty Tuesday," the girls decorated aprons and did some cooking that didn't require the use of an oven or stove. "Water Wednesday" found the girls making ocean-themed crafts, and Thursday was "Spa Day," where girls were free to come in their pajamas and slippers.
"We were chill the whole day," Sara Jane said. "They made scrubs and face masks."
"The last day of camp was 'Fun Friday,' so we went to Lost Creek Park," said Paige.
Campers were driven there by their parents and returned to Sara Jane's home for some fun on a slip and slide and a soaped-up air raft. The girls also had arts and crafts tables ready for water-themed fun, and were supervised by their moms.
"My favorite activity was the slip and slide, and making lip gloss and a decorated frame," said Campbell Ruback, a first-grade camper. She said her favorite day was "Spa Day."
Sara Jane said campers enjoyed making bracelets Monday. "The girls wore them all week long."
Cooking was another favorite pleasure. They assembled edible cookie dough without eggs, but with prebaked flour.
"Our parents were watching us during the camp," said Paige, "but we created and researched activities on YouTube and Pinterest."
They also planned the days, shopped for supplies and sent reminder emails to parents every night to bring water bottles and apply sunscreen to their children.
Most activities were outside, but the children came in for lunch and to listen to music before leaving at noon.
At the end of the week, they reflected on their first experience as entrepreneurs. "We learned what people like," Paige said. "And I feel like I'm more responsible," said Sara Jane.
They both agreed their project gave them more confidence and motivation. They're already talking about expanding the camp to another week next year. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.