Just because school is out this summer does not mean that the learning stops at St. Rita High School. CFO, Mike Gallagher, hosted a “Learn to Earn a Free iPad Camp” for 5th – 7th graders and the results were astounding. The camp held 95 participants, the largest turnout of any camp this summer, with the members earning over $31,000 and 75 iPads. The purpose of the camp was to learn basic stock market investing concepts, learn the strategies that business owners use to make money, and to have fun! The camp ran for two weeks that included a different speaker everyday and a walkathon that was put on by the campers to raise money. Speakers ranged from small business owners like Lynn Sapp, owner of Rainbow Cone, to Brian Jordan of the Chicago White Sox. The campers even got to experience running a rock band and learn the economics concepts of baseball, both made possible through the efforts of the Rock and Roll and Baseball Hall of Fame. Camp coordinator, Mike Gallagher, had much praise and thanks for these local businesses who made the camp a success with their generous contributions and support: Pop’s, Rosangelas, 115 Bourbon Street, Tuzik’s Bakery, Potbelly’s, County Fair, Cavatappi, Barraco’s, and Marquette Bank.
Each speaker at the camp brought a different expertise on business and the diversity of information that was given allowed the campers a fully rounded experience. Camp coordinator, Mike Gallagher, knows that participation from the community was a vital part of the camp’s success. “I would like to thank all of the speakers who were generous enough to donate their time to teach campers valuable life lessons that will help them in future interviews and business situations,” stated Gallagher. “Their knowledge and experience in the business world is second to none and will help shape these camper’s futures forever."
All the hard work the campers did came to fruition yesterday as they arrived at St. Rita to pick up the iPad they had earned. Accompanied by their parents, the campers could not open their iPad’s quick enough, acting like kids on Christmas morning. A sense of pride was in the Chapel yesterday and much of it came from the parents. Bill Cunningham, a father of three stated “The boys loved the camp! I think it’s a great opportunity for them to learn about real-life skills, and that money doesn’t grow on trees.” Maura Barron, mother of two, noticed that the learning did not stop when they left St. Rita. “My kids loved the camp and the one thing they seem to have been bringing home is the importance of customer service!”
After $31,000 and 75 iPads, the campers now understand hard work, dedication, and that when you put forth an honest effort you get rewarded in the end. However, Mike Gallagher hopes this is not the end and that the campers will take this experience and continue to grow it over the course of their lifetime. “This camp was designed to bring a lot of education to the campers while having some fun,” Gallagher said. “It doesn’t hurt that they earned an iPad in the end either. I truly look forward to an improved camp with more interaction for the campers next summer.”