How About Financial literacy Camp?

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    27-Jul-2015

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1. How About Financial literacy Camp?Average:Your rating: NoneLast week many of our Westport parents were abuzz about getting their kids ready for, and to,summer camp. Some of the parents seemed giddy in excitement that they were getting a littlevacation from the kids while others seemed lost in what they would do to fill the huge time gap.Don't laugh! There was at least one parent who was sad to see his or her child go.For the older kids, many were telling me they were going to a week-long sports or music/theatercamp at some point over the next few months. I also learned that for some athletes, not only werethey trying to hone their sports skills, but the camp also served as an opportunity to get noticed bycollege coaches that might be in attendance.I tried to think about the philosophy of camps as it related to my own experience, and now mychildren's experience. One thing I'm starting to observe is that for the well-adjusted child, it doesn'tmatter much what they are doing, but rather who they are doing it with, and if they're having fun.For example, the kids you see at Staples High School excelling at school, sports, theater, orwhatever it is that they are top of the world at, seem to be those who found a way to find the fun inthat activity and not burn out. It should be no surprise that learning needs to be fun. And if it has thepossibility of being fun, kids will embrace the topic even if it is knitting -- or money.I've noticed my inbox getting filled with solicitations for financial literacy camps. I'd like to sharewhat some of these camps are offering. Don't you dare roll your eyes as you read this and think, "Ican't believe he's going there. He wants us to send our kids to camp to learn about money?"Yes, I am going there, and if your kids thought it was fun, and they took away a life lesson whichthey'd carry with them through their entire life, how much would you pay for that camp? Let's atleast see what they offer:These camps come in all shapes and sizes, most of them geared toward 14- to 18-year-olds. Inscanning through all the advertisements, the longest duration was a 10-day residency camp. Ofcourse, there was the "dip-your-toe in the water" two-day camp which was more of a local flavor.While the duration changed from camp to camp, the topics that seemed consistent for most of thesefinancial literacy camps. The basics include:SavingBudgetingDebtInvesting 2. GivingEntrepreneurshipOf particular note to me are the methods they use to create the particular learning environment.Making it relevant and fun seems to be the most important factor in choosing such a camp. I wouldstrongly recommend that you look primarily for an environment that will create an experience foryour child that they not only enjoy, but become comfortable in thinking and talking about money.That's what the ultimate outcome should be. If the experience stimulates conversation within yourhousehold about money related issues, giving you the opportunity to share your money values withan interested party, then the dollars spent on such a camp is worth its weight in gold (I couldn'tresist fitting that pun into my article). Whether it be the games they played, the pretend businessthey started, or the field trip they took to learn about a business, the end goal is creating a comfortaround the subject matter. Just because money was a taboo topic in your household growing up,doesn't mean you need to continue the absurd trend in your home.Author's Bio:Tom Henske, a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm withoffices in New York and Stamford, created the Lenox Money-Smart Kids Program. Email:thenske@lenoxadvisors.com.

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