In 2003, as a bit of an afterthought, WSE began letting children sell goods at the Livingston Farmers Market. After several years, parents reported that their children were learning valuable lessons, such as how to make change, interact with adults, and set up displays. They were also learning hard lessons about balancing supply with demand (especially when dealing with baked goods) and the importance of reinvesting some of their proceeds in materials in order to have products to sell at the following week’s market.
In 2006, upon the urging of parents, WSE began charging children a modest $2.25 booth fee to demonstrate the costs to doing business. Thus was born the Young Entrepreneur Stewardship (YES) Program. WSE collects and holds these fees throughout the year. At year’s end, to teach them the importance–and joy–of giving back to their community, WSE allows the kids to donate the sum of their booth fees to a charity of their choice.
Today, dozens of “Youth Booths” grace the Livingston Farmers Market and offer a wide variety of products and services. Through their booth fees, YES kids have raised hundreds of dollars for community organizations, including Big Brother and Big Sisters of Park County, Mania, and LINKS for Learning.
2013 YES Booth Guidelines
- YES participants must be between the ages of 6 and 16
- All YES booth products must be pre-approved by WSE
- At least 75% of product to be sold at Farmers Market must be produced by the YES vendor
- All paperwork required to register youth booths must be completed and registered with WSE by YES vendor
- YES vendor is responsible for setting up booth, merchandising and signage (with minimal adult assistance)
- Seasonal spaces are not available at YES booth rates
- YES booth spaces are 5×5 or less, larger spaces may be rented at the standard Farmers Market booth fee
- YES booths may team up and share a larger space to use a canopy
WSE expanded the program in 2009 to reach more children. In partnership with Junior Achievement and LINKS for Learning (4-H and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Park County have also helped out along the way), WSE helps organize a week-long summer kids camp where students learn business fundamentals, budgeting basics, and about sustainable practices in business. The camp curriculum imparts the theory. WSE’s Farmers Market provides the medium for the children to apply the knowledge. Unlike many other business education programs for children, the YES program allows kids to immediately apply what they learn and directly benefit from the experience.
Throughout the year, WSE staff and volunteers mentor interested children to sell products at the Market. At the Farmers Market, WSE advises the kids about products and encourages them along the way.
A sincere Thank You to our 2012 sponsors, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and PPL Montana Community Fund. Their generous support enables us to bring this valuable education to Park County children.