Big Idea Camp inspires Regina teens to become entrepreneurs

The Big Idea Camp is a marketing camp to help turn high school students into entrepreneurs. This was the second year for the camp, and it ran from Aug. 2 to 5.

It's not your typical summer camp

The Big Idea Camp team at the Capital Auto Mall for Wednesday afternoon's challenge. (Big Idea Camp/Twitter)

It's a summer camp, but there are no canoes or campfires.

The Big Idea Camp is a marketing camp that encourages high school students to become entrepreneurs, and it took place this week in Regina.

At the camp, students had educational sessions with business and marketing experts, and took field trips across the city. They also competed in race-style challenges for points throughout the week.

"Their big idea is to come out of the camp thinking they can follow that dream of starting a company, going to school," said Jeph Maystruck, co-founder of the Big Idea Camp. 

"It started last year as a way to get students familiar with business at a younger age," he added.

Jordan, Arslan and Riley compete in the diaper challenge at the Big Idea Camp Tuesday. (Big Idea Camp/Twitter)

Diaper drive

During the week, the campers were divided into two teams: the orange team was called the "Misfits and Rebels," while the blue team was called the "Crazy Troublemakers."

On Tuesday, the campers participated in a charity diaper donation drive challenge for Carmichael Outreach, an organization that goes through 34,000 diapers per year.

Each team had to come up with the best way to get the most diapers, and had all day to do it.

One team used social media to try to get the most donations, while the other team used classic cold-calling.

"Their tactic? Brute force. Forcing people into donating diapers," explained Maystruck.

He said the students approached the subject saying, "We're in a competition, and we're raising funds to buy diapers for a great cause that helps people that can't afford their own diapers in Regina." 

He added, "How can you say no to that? It's a great pitch."

After the day of work, the students racked up a grand total of 3,330 diapers.

"What the food truck" challenge

On Wednesday, campers were given two challenges to complete at Regina's Farmers' Market.

First, they were asked to come up with the best meal on a budget at the farmers' market.

Second, they had to develop an idea for Regina's next great food truck.

"We wanted them to come up with a competitive advantage and look at what it currently offered for Regina food trucks, and what maybe could enter the market and what would really stand out," said Jordan McFarlen, high school business teacher at Campbell Collegiate and co-founder of the Big Idea Camp. 

Big Idea Camp alumni Janelle Salm. (Big Idea Camp/Twitter)

Janelle Salm is an alumni of the camp.

She said she loved the camp so much last year, she was eager to come back to help lead the new campers this year. She helped to facilitate the food truck challenge.

Salm said that through the camp, Maystruck and McFarlen taught her that she can do anything, and she took that learning with her to university.

"The opportunities that I have there is incredible. So I'm going to take those by the reins, and take what these two taught me," said Salm.

According to Maystruck, the best part of the whole camp is that there are no challenges that are meaningless. 

"We want to give them an opportunity to do something that the real world could take," he said.

"Maybe next year, let's create that food truck on behalf of Big Idea Camp."

The teams compete in a spaghetti challenge at the Big Idea Camp. (Big Idea Camp/Twitter)

With files from CBC's The Morning Edition