When I was about 12 years old I lived in a condominium complex. My parents worked, as many do. Often my younger brother, otherwise known as my partner in crime (PIC) and I would get bored of the neighborhood and since we always had to remain in ear shot of our step-dad's whistle, we couldn't really go far. Like many kids, we would develop games, tell stories and come up with crazy cockamamie schemes. Eventually these schemes brought us to the idea that we needed to make some money.
We wanted to put our 79 cents on the counter at 7-11 for our cherry and coca-cola mixed Slurpee. (You know you mixed flavors too, remember Graveyard style?) Oh and how bout those 7-11 nachos? Mom was not going to put her money up for those bad boys so we needed a plan. Enter the beloved Kool-aid stand.
We would search the couch cushions for some change and walk across the street to Howard's Thriftway where we would get the 10 for a dollar packets of Kool-aid. Mostly red flavors because everyone knows they are the best. Then we would grab handfuls of the free dum-dum suckers at the cash register that they saved for little kids and stuff them in our bags when the cashier wasn't looking. I'm pretty sure she was on to our plan but she never said a word.
We would then hurry home to make our special Kool-aid drink and drag whatever we could find in the house out to the corner of the parking lot to set up our unique business. We sold our delicious red concoctions for 25-50 cents depending on the day and then we set up those dum-dum suckers and sold them for 5-10 cents. We were true entrepnuers.
So imagine my excitement when on the radio yesterday and found out that May 3rd was National Lemonade Stand Day. Did you know there was such a thing? I had no idea until I woke up yesterday and heard it on the radio. Do you know what I did? I grabbed my keys and hit the road on search of a lemonade stand, that's what. To my shock and dismay I couldn't find one. Even on a gorgeous day in Portland when the Spring weather was all sun and high's in the 70's. I literally drove to multiple neighborhoods across the city in my search.
This disappointment compelled me to come home and determine if this was actually a real thing. Low and behold it totally is. After reading about the program, I have to say I actually got a little sad that I didn't find one. Here's why. The program was started in 2007 as a way to help young people learn how to be entrepreneurs. The program hels them start, own and operate their very own business and doesn't just set them outside, it actually helps them create a business plan and learn what making a profit and building a business is all about. BOY, we sure have come a long way from the lemonade stand my brother and I had back in the late 80's. This program now helps more than 2,000 kids across the country and now has partners like Google to help them grow even more. HOW COOL IS THAT?
When I think back to our time at the Kool-aid stand, I only have fond memories. It really did help us learn the value of money and how to work for it in some small way. Truth be told, my brother and I never stopped working after that experience. We started car washes, sold old toys and eventually started working real jobs as soon as we could get our work permits.
If not for that stand, I'm not sure we would have had that push to want to work so hard. The other kids in our neighborhood and school didn't seem to have to or want to work. Apparently they got their Slurpee and nacho money some other way.
I wish I would have found a lemonade stand today to give to other kids the same feeling I had back then but I love this program and now that I know about it, I can't wait to support it. To find out more about this great program, click on one of the lemonade images or go to http://lemonadeday.org/