By Trevor Busch
The Town of Taber has agreed to provide financial support for the Rotary Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp hosted from Aug. 11-17 at the Eagle’s Nest Ranch in the Cypress Hills.
At town council’s May 27 meeting, Sean Prummel with Community Futures explained his organization was seeking camp sponsors for the program, which has allowed four local youth to attend for the past 23 years as part of a 40-person contingent from southern Alberta. Prummel was seeking a minimum sponsorship of $650 to cover costs (per child) for the week.
“In the last few years — even though we’ve boosted our marketing — I’m struggling to get kids to sign up,” said Prummel, who indicated past sponsorship has traditionally been from the local business community. “So the last few years I’ve kind of just expanded our reach. The M.D. (Municipal District of Taber) has sponsored us a $1,000 the last number of years — the last two years.”
The Rotary Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp (RAYEC) is a week-long camp for 60 youth, ages 13-15, who are interested in learning about business and entrepreneurship, focusing on marketing, advertising, preparing a cash-flow statement, and writing a business plan. Campers set up their own business and use real money which they borrow from actual bankers. The last date is “Business Day” at the camp, where campers have the opportunity to open and operate their businesses. The youth also get to participate in many fun recreational activities throughout their week.
“It’s a great camp. It’s a week long, it’s free for the kids,” said Prummel. “They basically learn how to create a business, and then go on to create their own business, toward making product and selling by the end of the week. They learn a lot. Half the time is also rec time.”
RAYEC accepts 60 youth based on their applications, and is free to attend for the campers due to the generous support of their partners and sponsors.
Prummel explained that if no sponsorship can be secured for local attendees to the program, Community Futures covers the entire $2,600 cost.
“Our problem is our Rotary disbanded, so we’re not getting any of that extra support in Taber, so it’s pretty much on me to do, and our office.”
Town administration’s justification for supporting the program suggested it is “an opportunity for council to support a program to promote and encourage youth in the region who are interested in business and entrepreneurship.”
Coun. Joe Strojwas felt that support for the program should more properly be coming from the local business community or the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce rather than municipal taxpayers.
“I think it dovetails well with the mission of the chamber of commerce,” said Coun. Mark Garner.
Mayor Andrew Prokop was unconcerned about employing public dollars in support of the program.
“The Town of Taber is a business, so I don’t think this is an unreasonable ask. It’s not a lot of money to be asking for, for a great cause.”
Following discussion, council voted 5-2 to donate $1,300 to the Rotary Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp program with the funds to be allocated from the Council Discretionary Fund. Councillors Joe Strojwas and Louie Tams opposed the motion.
Additional information regarding the Rotary Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp can be found on their website rotaryayec.ca.