The following article was featured in the youth entrepreneurs news letter…
TEACHERS AND FRIENDS,
We’re a month into our launch of Empowered and the energy and excitement have only grown. But we know that many of you are head down, plowing through to the end of another challenging year. We’re excited for you to get a well-deserved break; more excited still, that we’ll be there at the finish line with new ideas, new products, and new innovations in education for you to check out.
Meanwhile, we’re here to support you and encourage you as you finish strong. It never ceases to amaze me what these kids can do when given the opportunity and agency by folks like you, our Empowered teachers. This month we feature innovations on both sides of the equation. One truly inspirational teacher has adopted Youth Entrepreneurs to power her Culinary Arts class. And, right on cue, one of her students has become an entrepreneur in his own right … and the story has my mouth watering. I’ll take one sleeve of strawberry, Damon!
Macarons … No, Not Macaroons
In the small town of Springville, Utah, sitting on the beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range, one student is transporting their whole school to France. Damon Jones has discovered his passion in Ruth Campbell’s Culinary Arts course, where his talents are being deployed in the form of delicious circular meringue sandwiches.
Always interested in baking, Damon grew up with a mom and two older sisters that regularly found themselves experimenting in the kitchen. “About a year and a half ago, I realized that I loved macarons, but that I’d never tried making them before,” Damon told us. “I ended up becoming obsessed with them, and I had a few people suggest that I should try selling them.”
Damon’s Macarons has taken the school by storm, moving quickly from an idea to a business to an opportunity to teach his fellow classmates his new skill. “He is doing really well and customers have told him they are a 10 out of 10,” relayed Campbell. “He sold them for $1.50 each or $6.00 for four at Valentine’s [Day] and made well over $75 in two hours of selling.”
Damon hasn’t just learned to perfect his tasty desserts but also gained important tools for life. “I really love that it’s a hands-on approach to learning and that it teaches some very valuable skills,” Damon said of the YE-based culinary course. “It’s very satisfying to share something you love with customers, and to look at your finished product and be proud of it.”
Damon has since given presentations and some baking lessons to a number of groups, including the local Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), a group that often partners with the class for a bake sale. Campbell’s innovative approach to combining entrepreneurship with the culinary arts has shown us the power of the YE curriculum and Experiential Self-Discovery™ in any class or subject area. As she puts it, YE can help kids to “feel confident both in the kitchen and outside the kitchen.”
Ruth Campbell’s Favorite Activity
Campbell has inspired us all to think creatively about how YE can work its way into any classroom. We asked her to share one of her go-to YE activities and she kindly obliged. Consider Speak Out Cards.
These handy tools quickly become a teacher’s best friend. Cue up students to hone public speaking skills, come out of their shells, and incorporate that speech right into the lesson by leveraging this great activity. And the best part? You can create your own prompts to customize it for your class!
Restaurant Wars, School Edition
Top Chef has a special week each season that they call “Restaurant Wars.” In it, the talented chefs form teams and are tasked with opening a new restaurant, developing a theme, and building a menu in just a few short days. Viewers likely watch the episode just like any other, but we know it’s a contest of entrepreneurship as much as of culinary ability.
Bringing something like Damon’s Macarons to your school is as easy as starting your own version of Restaurant Wars. Using our “Prospective Business” PBL activity, you can combine many of our best lessons into a large capstone project. Simply ask your students to build their own food truck, bakery, restaurant, or cafe as a unique take on the idea. Maybe screen a few of Top Chef’s best Restaurant Wars to get everyone primed and ready to get innovative.
When you set these students free to be creative, you’ll be surprised at what new ideas they’ll develop. The next Damon is waiting in your classroom right now. Go, set them free!