BY STEVEN GORDON, LEMONADE DAY NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has soured some of the sweetest plans and activities for kids of all ages this year, those of us affiliated with Lemonade Day are moving forward with a spirit of hope and optimism. We are walking our talk! We are proving that when life has handed us lemons in the form of a highly infectious virus for which there is not yet a vaccine -- as well as the type of lemons that grow on trees, we are truly making lemonade in every sense of that phrase! Lemonade Day My Way is happening -- in person and virtually – in many ways and on many days this year! We have designated Aug. 20-23 for the Lemonade Day My Way promotion to encourage kids and teens to host a lemonade stand in any way that works for them. Some of our Lemonade Day cities have been hosting contests and events for the past several months. Others are hosting Lemonade Day “their way” earlier in August. Many of our City Directors will be painting their towns yellow in October. That is what this year is all about – flexibility and progress despite challenges and uncertainties!
Getting involved in our Lemonade Day program starts with registration. Parents, grandparents and any responsible adult 18 or older can go to LemonadeDay.org to find their city and register kids for free. The “how to” step-by-step guidelines are readily available for hosting a lemonade stand the virtual way or the in-person way. We offer lessons through our Lemonopolis online platform, which is delivered free thanks to the generosity of our national sponsor Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. The Lemonopolis curriculum covers business planning, product development, customer service, financial management and charitable giving. Six of our rock star Lemonade Day alumni experts share tips and insights to make the Lemonade Day experience both fun and profitable. Kids who participate in Lemonade Day spend some, save some and share some of their profits with a designated charity or other altruistic cause.
Comments from Four City Directors Embracing Lemonade Day My Way
I am quite impressed with the resilience and resourcefulness of our national staff in Houston, our board members, our amazing City Directors in 84 communities, enthusiastic young kids, inspirational Lemonade Day alumni ambassadors, parents, mentors, and a long list of sponsors and community partners!
I have been observing what several City Directors have been doing to promote Lemonade Day My Way in their community via social media channels and mainstream media outlets to encourage young people to participate in the Lemonade Day program. Today, you will be hearing from four of our City Directors about what they are doing to keep Lemonade Day top of mind where they live and work. What they have to say is very interesting and insightful. I am pleased to share comments below from Andrea, Godfrey, Kristen and Rhonda. I am thankful to them and all of you for all you do to help Lemonade Day reach thousands of kids who will be business, civic, and non-profit leaders in just a few short years from now!
Friends of Lemonade Day: I invite you to read today’s blog YOUR WAY -- all at once in one sitting or broken up into a few segments! As always, I welcome your feedback and ideas. Please email me any time at Steven@LemonadeDay.org.
Andrea Ellinghouse, City Director, Lemonade Day Sacramento
Here in Sacramento, we are promoting Lemonade Day “our way” for this Thursday, July 30. We will share info about Lemonade Day My Way Aug. 20-23 soon thereafter! Lemonade Day Sacramento is in our second year of operation now, and we have learned a lot in this process! In 2019, we tried the school model and partnered with one local elementary school to roll out Lemonade Day. It was a huge success with over 45 students participating. They raised over $1,300!
To reach more youths this year, we had plans to partner with two local after-school and summer programming organizations. Our goal was to have over 300 youth participating in Lemonade Day in 2020. With the onset of COVID-19, our partners had to halt their operations, which dramatically changed our plans. We then pivoted to provide our materials online through Lemonopolis. This allowed us to provide free, educational programming to our region’s youth at a time that they needed it the most. We have had over 50 youths register for the program through organic, word-of-mouth promotions.
Our goal is that when we look back on 2020 in 20 years from now, we will have been responsible for developing successful entrepreneurs in our region. Our hope is that young people who participate now in Lemonade Day will remember a positive experience that taught them the skills and gave them the confidence to pursue their dreams. By providing a program like Lemonade Day in our communities, youth will be able to gain the skills, the knowledge, and the confidence to take risks, pursue their dreams, and implement new business ideas. Entrepreneurship is critical to the economic ecosystem of our region. Therefore, we must teach these business lessons and instill the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth. Our future depends on it!
For Lemonade Day My Way and for future years of Lemonade Day Sacramento, we will build on what we have learned in 2020 and implement a hybrid approach that includes partnering with our local community organizations and providing Lemonade Day curriculum online.
We know that many kids and their parents are concerned about hosting a lemonade stand right now during COVID-19. Lemonade Day My Way is a great way to engage kids in the program in a safe manner.
We have been supported by Retirement Security Centers and Delta Print Group. One of the Retirement Security Centers founders also created a video about why he supports Lemonade Day. (https://www.icloud.com/photos/#0e7FD4L345H85TKnhRk_63oQQ)
Godfrey Aguwa, Jr., City Director, Washtenaw County, Michigan
This is my second year as a City Director, and I love the idea that Lemonade Day is "More Than Just A Day." In my short time of being a City Director, I've talked with multiple families about how important opportunities like Lemonade Day are for kids in boosting self-esteem, self-confidence, instilling a feeling of being part of the community, and other factors. There are many wonderful results that come from Lemonade Day and it's exciting to be a part of this movement not just on a local level, but internationally as well.
From enrolling in a new school to trying new foods, change is a constant part of life. Lemonade Day My Way allows kids to embrace the recent changes sparked by the pandemic and create viable solutions to still run and operate a business. Lemonade Day My Way carves a path for these kids to develop their problem-solving skills in unique ways which is not only great for their businesses, but more important, a great life skill that allows them to truly become the leaders of tomorrow.
I am always impressed by the creativity exhibited by these young entrepreneurs. So, I cannot wait to see how they utilize, incorporate, and maximize different resources around them for the Lemonade Day My Way promotion. We are sharing information about Lemonade Day My Way through social media posts and newsletter letter shout outs from supporting organizations. We always have email campaigns keeping parents/mentors aware of this new opportunity.
We want to give a shout out to DCU Next Generation for implementing and bringing Lemonade Day back to Michigan! In addition, we are thankful to credit unions such as Lake Trust Credit Union for their continual commitment and generous support to investing in youth entrepreneurship. I also love how friendly and open other Lemonade Day communities are in sharing their ideas and implementation strategies. It further highlights the emphasis on creating support networks for kids to succeed and achieve success.
Kristen Pacheco, City Director, Lemonade Day Southcoast, Massachusetts
This is my sixth year as City Director. I've been with the program from its start in our area. My favorite part has been the creativity that shines through -- from stand names, jingles, tip jars and even makeshift cash registers. As an adult, it is easy to underestimate kids and then when you see them on Lemonade Day, you are left with such awe over what they come up with! It is inspiring!
Most of our kids typically donate half or more of their earnings to local organizations. It has been a rough year with so many fundraising events being canceled because of COVID-19, but our kids who can do their part to help, will -- and they won't think twice about it.
I'm excited that Lemonade Day My Way gives kids have the chance to learn how to start an online business. A lot of kids 6 years ago may have aged out of a traditional stand model. Now they can use the same lessons and new business models to shift their efforts online. This is a great stepping-stone to launching a homemade mask business, a fresh-laid egg sales business, a plant business, or any other venture. I am hoping some of the older kids recognize the opportunity and take the leap to become their own boss!
Fortunately, the fact that Lemonade Day Southcoast is affiliated with Town Square Media enables us to lean on radio and digital promotion for Lemonade Day My Way promotions. Hopefully by August 20th, we will see a good number of stands out there!
BayCoast Bank, our local bank, has been a huge help from the start. They let kids pick up backpacks at their branches, help them set up savings accounts, and help us make this a big, fun thing. My own daughter participated in Lemonade Day for the first time last year and the bank gave her some cash to help start her business – which, for a 5-year-old, is the most thrilling thing in the world!
Something else to mention: We've had a few proud moments over the years, but the one that stands out most was when a local fire department was able to resuscitate a family pet after a major fire using donated equipment from funds raised from one of the lemonade stands. It was headline news with a positive outcome that was a direct effect of a lemonade stand effort!
Rhonda Pope, City Director, McMinnville, Oregon
I have been City Director here for four years. I enjoy seeing the “ah-ha” moments in the kids’ eyes when they see their success (sometimes, success equals failure). We just want them to try, and they do! I enjoy seeing the smiles upon my arrival to a lemonade stand and the genuine eagerness of the kids to try something new or try to do a stand bigger and better the next year if they have hosted one in the past. I call Lemonade Day kids true youth entrepreneurs. Best of all is when you are out and about on a summer day and see a kid hosting a stand AGAIN after the typical Lemonade Day event. I also enjoy seeing a social media post encouraging virtual Lemonade Day sales and watching the kids who are thinking outside the box on how they can succeed in such challenging times. A highlight for me is when we award the bike winners for best business results.
Lemonade Day My Way benefits everyone involved by ensuring we have options for hosting a program of some sort this year. EVERYONE can participate in new ways. Lemonade Day My Way offers an amazing opportunity to still see the kids flourish during such an uncertain time while lending them the extra learning tools to gain the experience they would not otherwise get. Lemonade Day My Way also offers the sponsors and program partners the opportunity to be showcased for additional months this year. Providing FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES are the most exciting benefits to the kids and mentors!
TRULY OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE is that we had to pivot our efforts quickly since our originally planned Lemonade Day is historically in May. We are striving to maintain momentum since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Many local businesses have not yet reopened and those that have want contactless interactions mostly since we are still only in phase 2 of reopening within our county. We have hosted two “contactless” drive through backpack pick up days. We have been focused on distributing 250 workbooks, backpacks, sponsor materials and other materials promoting Lemonade Day and its benefits. Lesson learned because of the changes necessitated by the pandemic: In the future, we will encourage the use of Lemonade Day materials without specific dates in the future!
We are extremely thankful to our many local partners and sponsors who have been helping us for so many months this year!