A group of teenagers is spending their summer livening up the local golf course, while learning the fundamentals of running a business.
When the former Cheyenne Creek Mini Golf went up for sale, Traven Huscroft saw the perfect opportunity to teach his nieces and nephews some important life skills.
“This is something they don’t teach in high school, even the basics like dealing with customers and balancing a register at the end of the day,” said Huscroft, who has owned and operated Tratech Mechanical Ltd. for the last 10 years.
“I think these are important skills to learn while young to carry through adulthood.”
Huscroft purchased the property on June 2 and got to work with family and friends to prepare for opening on Father’s Day weekend.
Along with the other parents involved, they came up with a mission statement – “to provide the youth with entrepreneurship experience in a supervised environment.”
The five teens working for the summer range in age from 14 to 17. They have each contributed to all aspects of the business to learn time management, planning for a budget, and goal setting. Their work experience will contribute towards their high school credits.
Before signing on, they each signed employee contracts with codes of conduct including anti-bullying and harassment policies.
“It’s very representative of what the real world is like, as all businesses are required to follow those procedures,” said one of the parents, Nicole Nixon. “It’s been a very hands-on, realistic approach for the kids.”
Along the way, the adults behind the scenes hope that the teens will not only learn practical skills, but how to resolve conflicts with each other and with customers.
They have been in charge of everything from weeding the yard, setting admission prices, picking ice cream flavours, researching the suppliers, and brainstorming marketing strategies.
“The parents are just facilitating and guiding them,” said Nixon.
To bring in new clientele, the young entrepreneurs worked together on re-branding the golf course through a new logo, website with an online booking system, and social media pages.
They’ve also come up with ways to expand the business by offering loyalty cards and rentals for private functions like birthday parties.
“It was pretty cool to see them figure it all out as far as incentives and fair prices,” said Nixon.
Instead of regular wages, the teens will share profits at the end of each month.
“It’s a complete motivator for them to market the business, get the word out, and bring customers in,” said Nixon.
At the end of the season, the adults hope to create a model for a curriculum that could continue to be utilized in the future. The torch could be passed on to a new group of business-savvy youths for their chance to learn real-world skills next year
Having young minds at work has proven successful already, with record-breaking sales on opening weekend with a 20 per cent increase from the previous year.