Money basics

Camp Money Que$t teaches teens how to manage their dollars


Karen Cole-Smith, executive director of the Office of Community Outreach at Santa Fe Community College, speaks with participants of Camp Money Que$t, a five-day money camp designed to teach high school students vital financial manage-ment skills.

ERICA BROUGH/Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

Teens and judicious money management don't usually go together, but thanks to the 4th annual Financial Literacy Money Que$t Camp, a group of high school students received the tools to make sound financial decisions that may have a lasting impact in their future.

Parents and their children braved torrential rains last Tuesday to attend a camp orientation at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. The literacy camp was held from June 22-26 at the Santa Fe College downtown campus.

Camp sponsors were the Santa Fe College Community Outreach & the East Gainesville Initiative, Green Path Inc., Twenty Pearls Foundation of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., The East Gainesville Development Corp., and east Gainesville faith-based organizations.

The teens who participated in the camp spent the week learning financial literacy from experts on topics that included the basics of money, credit cards, checking and saving accounts, and overall money management, including stock market and investments, how to budget, things to know when buying a car and more.

Campers also visited a local bank, a local car dealership, and traveled to Jacksonville to tour the Federal Reserve Bank and the Avenues Mall, where they put their newly acquired budgeting skills to the test.

On Saturday, the last day of the camp, campers evaluated their experience, participated in role playing and skits illustrating what they learned, presented group projects, and enjoyed cake and punch.

At the orientation, Dr. Karen Cole-Smith, director of Community Outreach and the East Gainesville Initiative at Santa Fe College, gave an overview of the program, which she said was more hands-on than lecture.

"We will talk a little bit and do a lot of hands-on," said Cole-Smith, adding that campers will learn how credit scores work and why it's so important to have good credit. At the Federal Reserve Bank, Cole-Smith said the campers will see how checks are processed and learn the history of money.

Parents and their children were separated into groups and provided with various discussion topics that centered on their attitude about money.

Theresa Parker White, who teaches Spanish to students in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida, taught the campers easy phrases to use in any occasion. She also provided handouts, including Spanish pronunciation, simple phrases when meeting someone new, and more.

White suggested the campers listen to Spanish conversation tapes and check out children's books in Spanish to learn basic vocabulary.

Kalyn White, an 11th grader at Buchholz High School, said she wanted to learn about the stock market and how to invest in the stock market.

"This is an opportunity that most kids don't get," said Kalyn. "A lot of kids out in the world don't have a clue (about finances)."

Janie Cody brought to orientation her two grandchildren and Eastside High School students, 11th-grader Shavon Morrow and ninth-grader Gary Morrow.

Cody said the camp will set a good foundation and a good start, "so they won't make the mistakes we did," said Cody, adding that the children's parents, Dawn and Gary Morrow, want the children to become more responsible about money matters and to learn that money has to be earned.

"We want them to learn the value and the importance of good money management," Cody said. "We're trying to prepare them for when they go to college."

The camp for high school students only is held shortly after the end of the school year each June.

To find out about next year's camp, call Cole-Smith at 352-381-3840.

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