Many of us played “store” or “house” when we were young. But pretending to do something is a lot different than actually getting to do something first-hand.
There really is not anything better than hands-on learning, and that is exactly what the TREP$ program offers students. It is a six-week after-school entrepreneurship education program that leads up to students running their very own “flea market” style marketplace. They get to meet local business people, and the things taught are used in the everyday world. For example, students learn to write promotional material and use math skills such as making change. Organizers say they try to make connections with what students are learning in school that will be used in everyday life.
Cooperstown students set up shop in the middle/high school gymnasium on Sunday. It marked the fourth year the Parent Teacher Organization has offered the program. According to organizers, the students, as a group, profited a total of $1,665.37. There were 32 businesses represented at the marketplace with only three not bringing in a profit.
But that is not what the program is all about — it is a learning experience. The money made is just a bonus, if you ask us.
We at The Crier are not the only ones impressed with the program. Otsego County Chamber Executive Director Barbra Ann Heegan said there has been discussion of the Chamber possibly purchasing the program and offering it to all schools in the county.
We hope the Chamber can make this happen. Students seem to really enjoy it, and they are learning valuable lessons and customer service skills at the same time. Not to mention dealing with members of the public can be a big confidence-builder by getting students to break out of their shells.
TREP$ was created by Pamela deWaal and Hayley Romano, two certified teachers who live in West Milford, N.J. The program began when their then-10-year-old sons decided to go into business together selling hand-stamped wrapping paper at an adult vendor night at the school. The boys sold out of their products and shared their success story with their peers. Based on the merits of the program, the Paradise Knoll Parent Teacher Association earned the New Jersey PTA’s Champion for Children Award for best new program.
Every year it seems like the Cooperstown students become more creative with the products and services they have to offer. It is always interesting to see what will be sold at the marketplace. It is also always fascinating to chat with the students to see how they came up with their ideas and what they learned from participating in the program.