Helping youth develop entrepreneurial skills
The Young Millionaires program is offered Island wide by five regional service agencies, and has operated since 1991. The program teaches basic business skills to youth ages eight to 16 and helps them start a business of their own over the summer months.
They develop basic business skills such as record keeping, customer service, public speaking, and life skills. Participants attend workshops on marketing, customer service, accounting and basic business planning. Participants submit a business plan that outlines their business, ideas, goals and a request for funding of up to $150 towards start-up costs.
“This year, more than 200 students enrolled in the program across the Island, and they started 145 new businesses,” says Karen Duffy, Coordinator of the program.
“I see students come into the program shy and leave much more confident. It’s easy to measure the success of each business based on profit and growth, but it is far more important to see the value of the program in terms of business education and confidence building.”
Some of the students’ presentations at St. Peter’s Business Complex
Tanner Ansems is 11 years old and in grade six and his brother Nicolas is nine years old and is in grade four. They both attend French Immersion at Montague Consolidated School. Their business is called Secret Treats.
“My brother and I pretty much do everything together, so when the Young Millionaires Program was offered at our school, we decided to sign up,” says Tanner. “It sounded really fun and it didn’t hurt to know we could make money.”
“We decided to make candy for kids and dog treats for dogs,” adds Nicolas. “The next thing was to decide on a business name. This was probably the hardest part because we wanted to have a name that was catchy.”
“We also made keepsake Minions. They were made out of paper towel rolls and you could take their head off and put secret things in it,” adds Tanner. “We learned a lot about starting a business, about how to keep track of money to buy supplies and the money we got from sales,” says Nicolas. “We met a lot of people and we had lot of fun.”
They plan to continue making and selling their products because of the popularity of their sales.
Ella Burke, 10, and Taylor Gallant, 11, attend Souris Regional School. They are best friends and opened a summer business called The Garden Girls.
“I was so excited when I heard about the Young Millionaires Program at school,” says Ella. “Taylor and I convinced our moms we could run our own business.
“I decided to paint lady bug rocks and make garden mushrooms and sun catchers from repurposed glass vases and bowls. I staged the booth with flowers and driftwood to attract customers. My lady bug rocks were definitely the most popular.
“It was a good experience, and I soon realized how much work it is to run your own business. Anyone can do it if you work hard enough. I am using the money I made to pay for riding lessons.”
“I want to do this again next year,” says Taylor. “It was a great experience, and it helped me to be better at math and at saving money. I learned how to talk with customers and answer their questions.”
Ella plans to become a veterinarian, caring for animals. Taylor plans to become an animal advocate and own and operate an animal shelter.
The program was hosted by the Rural Action Centre in Montague. Visit www.ruralactioncentres.ca.
For more information about the Young Millionaires Program, visit www.youngmillionairesprogram.ca.
Funded through ACOA and Innovation PEI and sponsored by the Rural Action Centre.
Summer youth programs prove everyone is a winner - Alberton, Westisle and Summerside
Two youth programs held in a total of six locations across the Island this summer have proven to be of great value to the participants and the community.
The STAR and SEAM programs were held in West Prince (Alberton and Westisle Composite High School) as well as in Summerside, Charlottetown, St. Peters, and Morell.
Both programs helped support high school students in grades 10, 11 and 12 who are returning to high school by offering career direction and encouragement to make successful life choices.
“These programs are a win/win for everyone involved,” says Chris Shaw, Alberton Coordinator. “Along with getting paid for seven weeks, the youth learned a lot of skills which will help them in the future. Also, the community got to see the youth being very productive and helpful. They did things for the communities that were long overdue.
“Community members couldn’t believe the great services we were offering, such as weeding gardens, picking up litter, and odd jobs for the second hand clothing store and the food bank,” says Chris.
One youth participant talked about a gentleman who was so thankful to get some help cleaning up the site of a non-profit organization. Another youth talked about cleaning windows for a business owner who said she hadn’t seen through the windows in a long time. “She was so pleased with our work, she offered to provide a letter of reference for us,” says the youth.
The programs also worked on building skills in areas such as financial literacy, and discussed information on careers of interest and the steps to take to get into those careers.
There were a lot of moving parts to these summer programs that had a ripple effect. “The youth couldn’t say enough about how much they learned, and how they enjoyed and felt supported and a part of the program,” says Jenna MacDonald, Westisle Coordinator.
The Westisle SEAM program tackled a garden project called “Good Food, Good Health.” The goal was to grow veggies to donate to the Westisle Composite High School cafeteria in September.
“We did lots of exploring to get to know the community by visiting local farms and tourist businesses. We also went on a camping trip and did the R.O.P.E.S. program team building sessions through The Adventure Group in Charlottetown.”
Guest speakers such as the RCMP and others came in to discuss their fields of work, and there were many discussions on job search, communication skills, and dealing with anxiety. They also did personality assessments to get to know themselves better, to learn how to manage conflicts, and to discover what careers best suit each personality.
Carla Boswall, Summerside Coordinator for the SEAM program, says the programs are a place to help youth build self-confidence, develop job-ready skills, and offer many other supports around managing life challenges.
What youth said about the summer programs
- “It was very interesting and fun.”
- “A great learning experience.”
- “It was more than I expected. It gave us more opportunities than we are offered in school. I think the work we did in the classroom and in the community gave us great life skills.”
- “It felt like being in a very supportive family in a tight-knit setting.”
- “It was more than a program. This was something I will use later on, almost like a discovery of myself and what I want to do for my financial future and what I want to do as a person.”
- “It helped to address and face some of my fears.”
- “This program was completely worth it.”
- “It was a way to earn while you learn.”
- “It will help us out in the long-run.”
- “The life skills we learned were more important then I realized at the time.”
- “It is something for my resumé, and now I have references.”
- “Even though the program is short, it offers a lot of benefits.”
Comments from some Team Leads hired to work with the youth
Natasha Rayner, Star program Team Lead, is in the LPN program at Holland College in Summerside. “This was a great opportunity to get experience working with youth as I go through my nursing program. In high school, it is rare to get the life skills training this program offered. It helped open up PEI career options and gave the youth direction to get to their chosen career.”
John Gaudet, Star program Team Lead, has a music and business background. “I took the business program at Holland College in Alberton and was referred to this job by one of my college learning managers.
“This is work I have never done before – working with youth and mentoring in a teaching setting. I wanted the opportunity to build my skills, and I have always wanted to do more in my life that makes a difference.
“This is my community as well, and I knew many of the youth in the program. It was great to get to know them and help out where I could.”
Tyler Harris, Seam program Team Lead, came from a low-income family and is now in his fourth year university.
“While the program offers incredibly valuable life experiences, it is the immeasurable friendships that are created along the way that weave a unique network of support for the youth involved.”
For the article about the youth program in Morell, click here.
Funded in part through the Government of Canada Career Focus program in collaboration with the Government of Prince Edward Island, and sponsored through the West Prince Chamber of Commerce, Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, East Prince Youth Development Centre, the Community of St. Peter’s Bay, and The Adventure Group.
Growing healthy foods helps youth develop confidence & life skills - Morell
by Stella Shepard
Two youth programs held in a total of six locations across the Island this summer have proven to be of great value to the participants and the community.
The STAR program and the SEAM programs were held in West Prince (Alberton and at the Westisle Composite High School) and as well as in Summerside, Charlottetown, St. Peters, and Morell.
The Good Food, Good Health garden project held in Morell recently celebrated participants’ achievements under warm and sunny skies.
About 25 people attend the event, including the four youth who were in the program and their families, government officials, Morell High School administrators, Chief Brian Francis of Abegweit First Nation, and other supporters of the project.
The four young participants gave garden tours that showcased rows of healthy food they planted, grew and maintained under the volunteered direction of Stephen Cousins, an organic farmer from the area.
“Gardening was one part of the project,” says John Jamieson, Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Fisheries. “The youth developed the confidence and life skills they need to make good decisions.
“One youth told me that before he entered the program, he lacked the confidence to talk to people he didn’t know. Now, the opportunities gained through the project have changed all that.”
The youth participants and the Project Coordinator spoke about the experience of being part of the program.
Kara Cousins, Project Coordinator
I had the privilege of coordinating this program over the summer. It was a great joy to work with the students.
In the beginning, I don’t think any of us guessed how well we’d get along and work together. As we learned more about each other’s personalities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, and interests, we realized how different we all are. Our differences were the magic ingredient contributing to the success of this program.
Each person was willing to offer their strengths to help the group grow and also to ask for help when they were struggling. Working in this garden has taught us all to trust. We planted seeds and tended them. Day after day, we watered, weeded, trimmed, replanted, and watered some more. As the weeks passed, little sprouts began to shoot through the soil, and grew into the garden we see today.
Our friendships grew as well. Throughout the summer, we saw a lot of PEI and learned about different aspects of farming, health and wellness, and financial literacy, to name a few.
We visited farms, greenhouses, and gardens, and spoke to people in those professions. We also visited the Westisle SEAM group toured parts of western PEI. We also camped at Wood Islands, which was a highlight of the summer.
We hiked through Greenwich, played tourist in Charlottetown, spoke to vendors at farmers’ markets, learned about wigwam building in Fort Amherst, and toured UPEI.
This garden started as the seed of an idea with Mr. Reid, the physical education teacher at Morell High School, and the guys’ group he met with weekly during the school year.
Today we can see how his idea has literally taken bloom. We are excited to be part of starting something so much bigger than ourselves that hopefully will inspire other schools to do what we’ve done here.
Carson Myers of Mount Stewart
I am a grade 10 student at Morell High School. This group helped me gain confidence when talking to strangers, and it helped me figure out what steps I need to take to improve my education and try to become a pro soccer player.
At UPEI, I was told that if I ever changed my mind about going pro, another good career would be to become a physiotherapist, which also sparks some interest for me.
The group has helped me improve my time and money management. I was able to save most of my pay in a savings account. I got closer with the others in the group, although in school we never said a word to each other. But now we talk every day and we connect.
This was a very successful group. Other people should get the chance to experience it!
Madelyn O’Hanley of St. Peters Bay, Goose River
I am starting grade 11 at Morell High School this September. Our group started in early July as strangers. In the first few days, we were shy, didn’t talk much, and focused mostly on work or the friends we already had. As days passed, we became more comfortable with each other.
When we all went on a camping trip, we joked with each other and laughed together as we swam at the beach and created lasting memories.
Being part of this experience was one of the best decisions I made in my life. I became friends with people I thought I would never be friends with. This was one memorable summer.
Isaac Paul of Morell
I’m going into grade 12 at Morell High School. I was one of the first people in the guys’ group that Mr. Reid and Mr. Judson started. It started as a chance to meet and talk once a week, but some of us had a hard time talking, so we decided to form a garden group.
It’s been cool to see it turn into a summer job. Over the course of the summer, I had to go to summer school in the mornings and missed some of the activities.
With school being my priority, I learned a lot about balancing responsibilities. I helped the group in the garden as much as I could in the afternoons. It was usually pretty hot and hard work, but I learned a lot. It’s cool to be part of starting something like this on PEI.
Noel Paul of Green Meadows
I will be going into grade 11 at Morell High School, and I live on the Morell Reserve. Early this summer I made some goals for myself. One of my biggest goals was to learn how to bake, and it was great to make cookies and cinnamon rolls.
My next goal is to work on my social skills, because I am not very good at talking to people. I am very scared of talking to strangers because I do not know how to make a good first impression.
Over the summer, I went to farms, colleges, and campgrounds. I had the chance to talk to complete strangers during this time. I was nervous and scared, but now I feel less nervous but still scared.
During this summer job, I got to learn how to garden, which I knew nothing about previously, so I was confused about why they picked me. I learned about watering, weeding, potato bugs, composting, and transplanting. I am grateful that I got to learn these skills because they are extremely useful on PEI.
Funded in part through the Government of Canada Career Focus program in collaboration with the provincially gGovernment of Prince Edward Island, and sponsored through the West Prince Chamber of Commerce, Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, East Prince Youth Development Centre, the Community of St. Peter’s Bay, and The Adventure Group.
Students learn coding skills to help them prepare for the jobs of tomorrow
by Heidi Riley
In May, students from West Kent, Elliot River, and Stratford Elementary schools showcased video games they developed in their classrooms. Classmates, educators and the public were welcomed to explore the students’ interactive exhibits and speak with them about their innovative video games.
The students learned coding skills through a program funded by the PEI Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Coding Quest is Canada’s largest classroom-based coding program. This year, more than 38,000 students in grades 4, 5, and 6 from across this country participated.
Developed by The Learning Partnership, the program is available for free to public school students, challenging them to apply critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills to design and build their own computer games.
“On PEI, 18 schools participated,” says Guy Albert, Program Manager of The Learning Partnership. “In September 2016, we trained 34 PEI teachers to help students learn computing and programming skills. This program is integrated into the curriculum though subjects such as science, language arts, social studies, and other areas.
“Most students play video games, but they don’t know what is behind the games. Coding Quest gives them an introduction to how to create characters and objects and make them move and talk. They use a simplified code called Scratch. It focuses on analytics, structure, and sequencing, and is very tied to math. For example, once they know what a 90-degree angle does on the screen, it helps them better understand geometry and the theory behind it.”
“This time last year, we were just starting the process of integrating coding into our school system,” says Doug Currie, Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture. “The teachers who were trained to teach this skill were hugely successful. We will continue to build on this success in other schools. We will continue to teach coding skills, which improve students’ ability to solve problems and think critically and analytically.
“Coding skills are one of the most in-demand skills in today’s workforce. Employers look for people who understand programming, and who can apply technological solutions to specific needs. These jobs are growing, not only in the technology industry, but across all sectors. And there are not enough people to fill those jobs.”
“Introducing coding skills is one of the biggest curriculum changes I have seen in my lifetime,” says Heath MacDonald, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. “Coding skills are extremely important for the next generations moving forward into the future. There are many positions available right now for computer program developers with IT companies. It is one of the hardest positions to fill. These are well-paying jobs, and the demand is only going to increase.
“Other jurisdictions like British Columbia and England have taught coding skills in primary schools for years, and PEI needs to catch up in order for students to fulfill their dreams of good jobs in the future. Whether it is a Smartphone or a calculator or a car, coding plays a part in the development of technology.”
Students showcase their video game creations
The students combined their interest in a certain subject with the fun of building a video game. One student made a math concept more understandable by using an x/y axis to aim a soccer ball into a net. Another student explored the best treatment for a concussion, including sunglasses for light sensitivity and healthy food as a way to recover.
A grade 5 student from West Kent Elementary school made a game which teaches users about the respiratory system. After information is presented, the player answers a list of questions. When the correct answer is chosen, the character’s costume changes.
He says he chose the respiratory system because it was a game he could upgrade, and it was fun to do. From information he found on Wikipedia, he put together information on the respiratory system, and also wrote the questions and answers for the quiz.
This school project is not the first game this student has developed. He started by experimenting with different code to see what would work, and sometimes asked people if he got stuck. He has 50 published projects so far.
From The Learning Partnership website:
Why is it important for young children to learn coding skills?
As Canada’s workforce evolves and becomes increasingly digitalized, the skillsets needed to compete in a global economy are evolving as well. Close to 90 percent of jobs now require basic information, communications and technology (ICT) skills, yet there’s a chronic shortage of skills in the Canadian tech sector. One study predicts that Canada will be short 180,000 ICT workers by 2019.
Coding is increasingly viewed as the next language for the next generation of workers. As schools begin integrating coding into their curriculum, here are three ways to spark your child’s interest in programming.
- Encourage exploration. Give your child enough room to play and explore on their own. The process of discovery is a core component of a coder’s world. Encourage your child to experiment with different tools to find one that ties into their interests. It’s as much about the journey as the outcome.
- Foster creativity. Programming is as much about being creative as using STEM skills. Programmers like to solve common problems or address previously unfulfilled gaps. Encourage students to be curious. Push them to learn how things work and find creative solutions to problems.
- Connect them with made-for-kids tutorials and programming languages. There are many resources to help students navigate the world of programming, including:
About The Learning Partnership
The Learning Partnership is a national charity dedicated to building partnerships to support, promote and advance publicly funded education in Canada. Since 1993, more than 6.5 million students have participated in The Learning Partnership programs.
For more information, visit www.thelearningpartnership.ca.
My Plan – Guide for PEI high school students: What is included in Designing myBlueprint
“Building the future you want is the focus of the planner,” says Kathy McDonald, Student Success and Transition Specialist. “Students will be walked through a series of exercises and experiences both in the classroom and in the community to help them answer questions such as:
- What am I good at and what do I care about?
- What high school courses allow me to explore my interests?
- What kinds of jobs or occupations interest me?
- What courses and community learning experiences will help me reach my goals?
- What is my action plan?
“Key tools and plans need to be in place for the transition from grade nine to high school to post- secondary, and it can be a scary time for students and parents. We are investing time and resources to help each student and their parents/guardians find answers and have job search tools.”
Areas of focus within myBlueprint
- Goal setting
- Resumé and cover letter development
- High school course planning
- Post-secondary planning
- Exploring interests & learning styles
- Financial planning
- Occupational planning
- Portfolio development
myBlueprint is the easiest way to plan your education and career.
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