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A Special Camp for Aspiring Young Tycoons

Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce

A special summer camp for young would-be business owners will begin in Tallahassee shortly. One goal of this particular camp is to revitalize entrepreneurship in the city’s minority neighborhoods.

The camp is under the auspices of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, where Gina Kinchlow is the special projects consultant.

“It’s called ‘Camp Treppie,’ and the word ‘treppie’ is a nickname for the word ‘entrepreneur.’ It’s a five-day leadership experience for aspiring young entrepreneurs,” Kinchlow said, insisting this is not a simple “how-to” program.

“Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business. It is a way of thinking and that’s what we want our campers to learn. We want them to learn how important it is to be courageous, to show empathy for other people, to persevere against tough times and to gain confidence when you fail at something.”

Beyond nurturing that critical mindset, Kinchlow said Camp Treppie also teaches lots of practical skills that will help young folks for the rest of their lives.

“We don’t do this camp without financial literacy. We’re in our third year now and we’ve always had it as a component. This year we are so excited about our partnership with Envision Credit Union and their Frenchtown Financial Opportunity Center.”

Herschel Holloway heads the Frenchtown Financial Opportunity Center. He explained his financial literacy program for young aspiring business folk starts with the concept of saving.

“That’s one of the main components of being successful later in life is understanding how to save, when to save and what to save. We’re going to also be discussing credit. You can be cash rich and credit poor, but that’s not going to get you really anywhere if you want to engage those entrepreneur traits and bring them to fruition. Along with that is the checking account piece. You have to know how to monitor and maintain a checking account and more importantly, loans. There are always needs, but we have to understand how much we can afford, what we can afford and what we can’t.”

Still, Kinchlow insisted, the whole idea of Camp Treppie is to make sure its campers have the tools they need to turn dreams into reality.

“What we find with our campers – and we get campers from age 10 all the way up to age 16 – these young people have great ideas. They are just little wizards and come up with all kinds of fabulous ideas.”

Kinchlow said there are two camp sessions this summer.

“Camp Treppie begins on Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 21st. And then our second session for middle school girls only will start on June 24 and run through June 28.”

But she cautioned the camps fill up fast.

“To find out more, go to the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce web site homepage: www.mybbmc.org. You’ll find information about Camp Treppie, or you can call our office: 850-577-0789.”

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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