We were very excited to kick off the first day of Minnesota Business Venture (MBV) today! The 165 students arrived at St. John’s University around noon to check into camp, greeted by our energetic student leaders and staff. After receiving a BestPrep drawstring bag filled with goodies from MBV’s sponsors, students and their parents entered the Refectory Dining Room to enjoy lunch on campus.
After lunch, families headed to the Pellegrene Auditorium, where they were welcomed to camp by Jonathan Filzen, Program Manager of MBV, as well as Bob Kaitz, President & CEO of BestPrep. Students and their parents were informed about the BestPrep organization, the MBV program, and the people involved in each.
John Thomas of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx shared his story and his advice for young people to be bold and follow their dreams. Thomas played basketball for the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and also overseas in countries like China and Syria. Thomas emphasized the importance of hard work, communication, and vision in order to achieve one’s dreams. “If you don’t believe it, you can’t achieve it,” Thomas affirmed. “You have to believe in it first.”
Students then dispersed into companies, their assigned team for the week. Each company includes a Residential Business Leader (RBL), a CEO, and around 15-17 students from a variety of schools. Company members became familiar with one another after playing some icebreakers.
Later, students gathered in the auditorium once again to hear Adam Cohen from UnitedHealth Group speak about the importance of making your actions worthwhile. Cohen advised students to pay attention to the type of energy they bring when they enter the room. “Bringing the right level of energy for the right activity can make a lot of difference,” Cohen pointed out. He also encouraged students to identify the quality of their thinking in order to exhibit effective behavior. At the end of the presentation, Cohen had the students write an ‘I Will’ statement in their binders to act as a personal goal for the week at MBV.
Following dinner, students participated in one of MBV’s favorite events: Junk Night. Each company chose nine items from a wide selection of useless objects. Company members then had to use these items to create a ‘commercial’ selling a new product. The companies competed against one another by performing their commercials in front of the entire camp. It was fun seeing the students come together to create funny and unique commercials. At the end of the competition, Company H was announced as the winner.
What a wonderful way to end our first day of MBV! From the compelling questions during the presentations to the exciting performances at Junk Night, the students shined with positive energy. We can’t wait for tomorrow!