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In 1986, the Rotary Club of Houston initiated Camp Enterprise as a practical introduction for Houston area high school juniors who are recommended by their school counselors for their scholastic success, extra curricular activities and demonstrated leadership.

The students who are then selected by the committee, attend an intensive three-day weekend program of instruction, competition and teamwork. Through interaction with business executives and entrepreneurs, participating students are introduced to the challenges and opportunities of the free enterprise system. Successful business leaders provide insight gained from years of experience to help them learn the values of hard work, dedication and specific principles that can be applied for success, regardless of the career field they plan to pursue.

Speakers come from diverse fields which may include manufacturing, engineering, health, communication and business services to name a few. Topics they cover can include, management, employee relations, starting your own business, ethics, leadership, government relations and the role of business in society and the community.

All these activities occur in a true and enjoyable camp setting about 40 miles northwest of Houston at Camp Allen near Navasota. The Rotary Club of Houston sponsors the students transportation, lodging, speakers, and all meals and amenities including social events. Counselor couples from the Rotary Club of Houston volunteer to supervise and work as coaches to mentor and guide the students through a full agenda each day.

Students are deeply immersed in a stimulating interactive environment that encourages their full participation and competitive teamwork in activities that include managing a business, completing an obstacle course and a talent show. All parts of the program are designed to help students gain a better insight into the business world for themselves and their fellow students. The weekend culminates with the selection of a "Camper of the Year" who exemplifies the goals of Rotary and professionalism.

Students leave Camp Enterprise with immense enthusiasm and a sense of direction. They develop skills in analytical and conceptual thinking, public speaking, interpersonal communication and often express having stepped out of their comfort zone to enhance and improve their self confidence. They gain a better understanding of and appreciation for business and the free enterprise system, while making new friends and meeting professionals in a variety of careers. Each year since 1986, students who have attended the camp describe the program as a uniquely positive and valuable experience that they will always remember.

Ian Hancock
2015 Camp Enterprise Committee Chair