WESTLOCK – After a successful event in 2021, that saw close to 700 kids from across northern Alberta participate, and $7,371.20 raised for local charities, Lemonade Day is returning in June.
The free program teaches kids how to start, own and operate their very own business – a lemonade stand. This year, kids will set up their lemonade stands in participating towns across Northern Alberta on June 18. Some of those towns include Ashmont, Athabasca, Barrhead, Bonnyville, Camrose, Cold Lake, Edson, Grande Prairie, Leduc, Morinville, Thorhild, Vegreville, and Westlock, among others.
Registration for the program opened March 1 and will run until June 1.
“Community Futures brought Lemonade Day to our region specifically in 2018. We were the first Community Futures office that did it, we tested it in our region, and it was really successful,” said Amanda Robinson, Northern Alberta city director for Lemonade Day. “In 2019 a few more offices came on and it continued to grow. In 2020 we had to cancel because of COVID.
“Our hope is that we will have more kids register and definitely more kids that can see the program all the way through to the end,” added Robinson, noting that 125 kids have already signed up for the program as of mid-March.
Lemonade Day is open to kids from Kindergarten to high school. Each child that registers will attend Lemonade University where they will receive a free backpack with an entrepreneur workbook that teaches valuable lessons, including how to set a goal, make a plan, work the plan, and achieve their dreams. An instructor will lead kids through the workbook ensuring they have all the skills they need to become business owners.
“A community futures team member in each region will teach one (lemonade) university class that’s about two to three hours long,” said Robinson. “They go over some of the points of the workbook, over some of the special circumstances like health and safety, customer service and those kinds of things, to give kids a bit of hands-on teaching. Kids will go home, they’ll work their way through the workbook, develop their stands and build their recipe at home, and then on (Lemonade Day) they set up their stands.”
Three Westlock area sisters are busy preparing for lemonade Day this year. The girls, Lisbeth, 9, Alana, 7, and Hailey, 6, have all participated in Lemonade Day in past years and have enjoyed the experience.
“Lemonade Day is fun and you learn to become an entrepreneur,” said Lisabeth Dul. adding this will be her fourth year with the program. She has donated a portion of funds raised over the years, to several organizations and charities including the Pioneer Museum and Canadian Parents for French.
“Every year we change up our (lemonade) recipe to make it new and exciting,” she said.
The girl’s mother, Tanya Dul said she is proud of the Westlock and area community in their support of the program and the aspiring young entrepreneurs. She noted how Lemonade Day helps her daughters learn and give back to the community.
“It is a fantastic program. They learn so much; they learn life skills, creating budgets, setting goals and even talking to people,” said Dul. “My girls have broken out of their shell and have become more confident in themselves and in talking to people.”
Participants of Lemonade Day keep all the money they earn however, they are encouraged to spend some, save some, and share some. Many of the kids will donate a portion of their proceeds to a charity of their choice.
“How much they donate, who they donate to, that is completely of their choosing,” said Robinson, noting in the past, kids have donated to the Stollery, to local hot lunch programs and to animal shelters, that are often close to home. “The number of different charities is as diverse as the amount of kids that we have.”