Summer camp: It's not just for campfires, crushes on counselors and crying alone in a bunk bed. Summer camp is also for capitalism.
Or at least it is for a growing number of children whose parents enroll them in workshops and sleep-away trips that focus on stimulating the entrepreneurial mindset, enlightening youth about the importance of innovation, and imbuing the next generation with an appreciation for surplus value.
Biznovator, a company in South Florida, offers a slew of camps, academies and programs that are designed to teach students about how to be businesspeople and innovators (biznovators!). That includes the weeklong "Kamp for Kids," which this summer will be held at the Divine Savior Academy, in Doral, Florida.
It also includes the more advanced "Connect Camp," for preteens and high schoolers, which is typically run at Florida International University. Campers get tours of places like a Starbucks corporate office or the Federal Reserve, and are tasked with analyzing problems facing various companies and industries.
A New York-based nonprofit, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, or NFTE, also runs in-school and summer programs for students in sixth through 12th grades.
The goal of the organization — founded almost three decades ago with support from billionaire philanthropists, multinational banks and corporate consultants — has been, since the beginning, to "activate the entrepreneurial mindset and build startup skills in youth," said Sophia Rodriguez, the director of research and analytics at NFTE.
Juan Casimiro, the founder and chief executive of Biznovator, believes children are never too young to start learning about business. "For more than 31 years, I've been running entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership camps — typically during the summers," Casimiro said. "When I got involved, it was harder to convince parents, funding sources, organizations, that kids can learn business very early.
"It blew my mind," said Ortega, a paralegal who lives in Upper Manhattan. "How do we not have this here?"
The answer is simple: Officials do not believe the biggest — and most crowded — city in the country is ready for scooters.
Companies like Bird and Lime that rent scooters in other cities have stayed away from New York because the devices are technically illegal. Rule breakers could get hit with a $500 fine or have their scooter confiscated.
Electric scooters have appeared in dozens of cities — from Los Angeles to Washington and across the Midwest — winning plenty of fans and at least as many enemies who view them as a nuisance. They are a cheap way to get around, for fun or commuting, and are faster than walking and more enjoyable than sitting in traffic.
The devices recently became legal in New Jersey, where they have already flooded the streets of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River. But it appears that electric scooters are unlikely to arrive in New York City anytime soon.
Leaders in New York are reluctant to change the law and worry that scooters are too dangerous, especially in an increasingly congested Manhattan where cars, pedestrians and cyclists are already competing for limited street space.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is known to work out on a stationary bike at the gym, has scoffed at the idea of riding a scooter."I just don't like the idea personally, because I'm like, 'If you're going to move around why are you not getting some exercise?'" the mayor told reporters last fall. "It seems really passive to me."
His lack of enthusiasm has not stopped rental companies from lobbying local leaders. The companies have spent at least $475,000 on lobbying for electric scooters and bikes at the state and city level during the first four months of this year, according to state records. Bird and Jump Bikes, an Uber subsidiary, each spent at least $100,000 on lobbying.