WEST MILFORD Two West Milford sixth graders were recently recognized in the national online magazine, Future CEO Stars, for their entrepreneurial TREP$ project. Capturing market interest for the second year with their "Winter Welcomes," young entrepreneurs Alex Metcalf and Christian Kubelle, both 11, celebrated the success of their sales and the success of the TREP$ program.
TREP$ is an entrepreneurship education program for kids in grades 4 through 8 that teaches kids the basics of starting a business.
"I'm glad we had a chance to learn something like this," said Alex.
Starting with the Maple Road Elementary's TREP$ program, Alex and Christian designed and produced decorative snowmen, using reclaimed picket fence posts. In 2010, the boys sold out in the first 30 minutes of the TREP$ Marketplace. In 2011, they added decorative Santas to their offerings and sales were equally strong.
"We didn't start out with the idea of the fencepost snowmen," the article quoted the two young men as saying. "At first we planned to do tie-dye t-shirts, but we gave up on that idea."
It was an idea from Alex's mom for the fencepost snowmen that appealed to the two young men.
"We decided that the 'Fencepost Snowman' was a good idea for two reasons - the product looks rustic and we live in a country area, and the timing was right since winter was approaching."
Pamela deWaal, one of the founders of the TREP$ program, shared her joy with the boys.
"Congratulations! Look who made it into the magazine!" said deWaal.
This wasn't just a business victory and honor for the boys. They were very happy to have lots of traffic at their table of course, pleased that so many were interested in their product. But the boys had an ulterior motive for moving their Santas and snowmen: they were raising money for the West Milford Animal Shelter through their sales.
What is TREP$ TREP$ was the winner of the New Jersey PTA's Champion for Children Award. The program was founded by West Milford residents Hayley Romano and Pamela deWaal. It teaches children in grades 4 through 8 the basics of business ownership. Through a series of workshops or afterschool programs, TREP$ takes on a professional environment as students are exposed to topics like product development, finance, marketing, advertising, and sales. It culminates in the TREP$ Marketplace, giving the children the memory of a lifetime: the night they launched their first business.
The next local TREP$ Marketplace will be hosted on April 20, 2012 at Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School, from 7 to 9 p.m.