Camp Business Goes Virtual
This summer brought a new approach to LeBow’s Camp Business. In light of COVID-19, the annual summer program for high school students was adapted for a virtual environment, bringing LeBow faculty, advising staff and current students into the homes via Zoom of over 70 campers throughout the United States and Canada.
“By offering the camp in a virtual setting, I think we were able to attract students whom we don’t usually reach,” said Michelle Pearl, program manager in undergraduate programs at LeBow.
Throughout both 3-day programs, students learned about key business areas and applied each day’s lessons to a group project that would be presented during a final business pitch competition at the culmination of the camp. Students were tasked with exploring ideas that would benefit the tourism and hospital industry by developing an original product that would encourage more individuals to travel or use the product during their trip. Many ideas centered on safety and wellness, likely stemming from their experiences and response to the ongoing pandemic.
Already familiar with remote learning from their high-school classes in the spring, campers were engaged in their work at levels that surprised and impressed both the instructors and the judges for the students’ final presentations. Christopher Finnin, EdD, clinical professor of general business, taught lessons on business ethics and effective presentations in the virtual environment and also judged both pitch competitions.
“I saw my lessons carried out in both camps, including a lot of best practices shown in their final presentations,” he said. “I was blown away by how the students developed within hours, not days.”
Among the winning projects were Auto-Fold, a self-folding device for garments, and Clustered, an audio navigation aid designed not only to provide updates on local health conditions, but also to highlight local businesses at travelers’ destinations.
Outside of daily sessions and group collaborations, academic advising staff and current LeBow students also met with the group to share advice on the college search process. Evening group activities included a Jeopardy-style game and an open Q&A, both led by current undergraduate students Christian Maxey and Autumn Ellis.
Maxey, a senior majoring in organizational management and operations and supply chain management, has served as a Camp Business counselor for three summers. He noted that responses from both students and parents have been overwhelmingly positive and show immediate impact on students’ habits and mindsets.
“I’ve heard from students who are already utilizing tools we shared to build their network and prepare for their next steps such as creating LinkedIn profiles, practicing virtual presentations and engaging more in the college search process,” he said.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback on this year’s summer camps, additional pre-college camps are currently being planned and will be available in the winter. More details will be available on LeBow’s Pre-College Programs page when those opportunities are finalized.