Modesto-area children learn business skills on Lemonade Day

pclark@modbee.comMay 2, 2013 

Scout's Honor: Daisy Girl Scout Lorra Mansell working at a Lemonade stand during Lemonade day on Saturday, May 19, 2012. Their stand raised funds to donate to Childrens Crisis Center in Modesto, CA

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Modesto-area children learn business skills and more at second annual Lemonade DayA modern lesson on the value of hard work will take over the streets of Modesto next month in a decidedly retro form — the humble lemonade stand.

The second annual Lemonade Day, a communitywide educational event that aims to teach children the basics of becoming entrepreneurs while also teaching them to give back, will pop up May 18 across Modesto. And given the overwhelming success of the fledgling event last year, a lot of thirst will be quenched, a lot of money will be donated and a lot of children will learn some important life lessons.

Scott Webb, executive director at United Cerebral Palsy, the Modesto organization that brought Lemonade Day to Modesto, said that 1,027 youths participated in last year's event, with more than 400 lemonade stands set up across the area. One stand alone made more than $900 while selling the ubiquitous summer beverage.

The youngsters can keep their profits, but organizers also provide this counsel, Webb said, about that money: "Spend some, save some, share some."

And the kids made Modesto proud in 2012, withan estimated $15,000 donated back to the community in a variety of ways, according to Webb.

"We had one girl who created bags for the homeless," he said. "We had a lot of really neat things that went on."

Webb said organizers and sponsors — made up of numerous local groups and businesses — were excited by how successful Lemonade Day turned out.

"This was something that has been going on in cities across the country, and we decided to take it on as part of our new Connections Family Center," he said. "It was very successful. We had lots of sponsors, lots of families who signed up."

Connections Family Center is a UCP youth and family program for children both with and without disabilities. The center, located on Rumble Road in Modesto, opened in 2011 and offers day camps, after-school programs and youth sports, among other classes and opportunities.

Lemonade Day is a nationwide program started in Houston in 2007 by a nonprofit organization there. The program now involves more than 35 cities and 160,000 kids across the country.

Backpack kits given out to kids include information on how to design their stands, how to build them, how to find investors, how to market their business and more. Pacific Southwest Container also provides cardboard starter stands to kids who opt to use them, according to city director for Lemonade Day, Tammie Webb.

She said the stands themselves range from simple tables to elaborate structures, and the city of Modesto allows children to set up and sell their cool beverages from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on event day.

Merced also will host a Lemonade Day on May 18, although the national Lemonade Day Web site, http://lemonadeday.org, shows only Modesto and Humboldt County as participating in California. National Lemonade Day officially is May 5, but the Web site indicates that date is not mandatory.

Tammie Webb said several cities move the date because of the busy nature of the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

"Cities work with a date that fits their city the best," she said.

The bulk of the cities participating are in Texas and the Midwest, with others scattered elsewhere across the country. Scott Webb said organizers are surprised the event hasn't spread more.

Sign-ups still are being taken for this year's Lemonade Day. Parents can get more information at http://modestolemonadeday.org and register their children there.

The Modesto Nuts helped kick off Lemonade Day at a Fan Fest on April 13. Children who already had registered were able to pick up their backpacks and get information on this year's event.

"We had a great turnout," Scott Webb said.

Indeed, Tammie Webb said that they're expecting the number of kids participating to double this year over last, thanks in part to the Stanislaus County Office of Education jumping on board.

The county schools office contacted organizers this year and set up an electronic means for sending out materials on the event to every principal in the county.

"The reach is beyond amazing," Tammie Webb said.

Another pre-event is scheduled — the second LemonAID Night, a concert on May 10 featuring Papa Do Run Run at the State Theatre in downtown Modesto. Sponsored by the Leadership Modesto Class of 2012, the concert will raise funds for a sports and activities field at the Connections center.

Tickets for LemonAID Night are $40 adults, $15 students; VIP tickets also are available for $80. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show set to begin at 7 p.m. May 10 at the State, 1307 J St. For more on the show, see www.thestate.org.

Reach Pat Clark at pclark@modbee.com.

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