April 28, 2009

Sixth annual Camp CEO slated for July 5-10

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, eBay’s Meg Whitman, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or even the successful owner of a small hometown business? A July camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale gives young entrepreneurs the chance to find out.

Camp CEO is an experiential camp for high school students entering grades nine-12 this fall. It gives teens a chance to experience business ownership up close and personal.

“We are hoping for 28 campers this year and already have inquiries from all over the United States,” said Robyn Laur Russell, Entrepreneurship Center director. “In this time of economic downturn, starting a business is becoming an even more popular post-graduation option and we are excited to be able to offer this experience for high school-age kids.”

Participants in the sixth annual camp will experience first-hand the challenges, rewards and dedication of a successful entrepreneur. The teens will create business plans and marketing concepts and try them out. They’ll tour local businesses and hear from owners about what it takes to succeed. They’ll practice good business etiquette and participate in hands-on learning activities.

The Office of Economic and Regional Development, Entrepreneurship and Business Development Office, the Entrepreneurship Center and the Division of Continuing Education are teaming up to offer this unique learning opportunity.

Camp CEO’s young entrepreneurs will develop negotiation, sales, customer service, leadership, problem solving, networking, time management, record keeping and public speaking skills, Russell said. They’ll experience daily leadership training, games and competitions and networking receptions. They’ll hear special speakers, participate in a professional etiquette dinner and enjoy all types of recreational activities. At week’s end, Camp CEO participants will present their individual marketing plans to an audience of parents and peers, with awards going to the best of the plans.

The camp is July 5-10 at SIUC with check-in at the assigned residence halls between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. July 5. The cost is $495 and that covers all meals, snacks, drinks, lodging, equipment, camp materials, instruction and transportation during the camp. A $45 deposit is due with the camp application and the remainder is payable by June 15.

Space is limited and early registration encouraged. Scholarships are available.

Ivan Sanchez, a former Saluki swim team standout and recent master’s graduate at SIUC, will be camp coordinator once again. To register or for more information, contact Sanchez at 618/453-3805 or via e-mail at info@campceo.biz. You can also find additional details about Camp CEO online at www.campceo.biz.