You’re handed a folder with the Alumni360 sign across it and within it is the with the warm-up. “What Do You See?” says the paper and the directions say to gaze at the three given lines and add any additional ones to create a whole new drawing. You sit there, feeling lost because you cannot think of anything to draw. You think, “There are only three lines. How do I create something beautiful out of this?”

Why is it so hard to come up with an idea to draw?

This is due to the lack of practice in creativity. Yes, that’s right. Practice. Since creativity is a skill, it can be practiced but we never do it. We are always told what to do, given directions telling exactly how to assemble a playhouse or complete a task in school. There is never a chance to express our creativity or to use our imagination. This warm-up activity is the base foundation of what the camp stands for.

Everything starts with creativity. It’s our seed for success.

This three-day summer camp taught students how to start a business and how to become a successful negotiator through using their creativity. Let’s be clear though. Creativity means the process of problem-solving with relevance, value, and novelty. It doesn’t mean artistry (music, drawing, dance, and theatre) but I love how the arts are brought in to enhance our creative thinking.

At the end of the camp, students and their teams presented their elevator pitches for their business idea. So they had to grasp as much information from the speakers to use in their presentations.

As one of the students involved with the program, I can certainly say that the speakers were vital because they fed us all this important information which, in truth, we wouldn’t have received elsewhere, including school.

Todd Parker, an executive communication leadership trainer, taught us the structure behind communication, which is advisory, addressed, situational and stylized. Many do not understand that they need to adapt themselves to certain situations with certain people to have the outcome in their favor. Todd helped us comprehend how and why we need to be able to analyze situations and adapt. Furthermore, he embedded the idea that our fears are not real, they are just figments of our imagination and he showed us how to handle our fears effectively. Our fears can easily be overthrown, and that is when our hero’s journey begins. When that pivotal change in our mindsets occurs, the world is in the grasp of our hands.

All One Wealth financial advisor, Christian Carreon offered a story that was riveting and relatable to the students who share his low-income start in life. Having to work his way through student loans and other life-threatening obstacles, students were all connected to his journey. He enlightened us that even though we may be surviving month-to-month with our finances, we can still make it to the top and have to never worry about making debilitating monthly debt payments. He grew up not knowing what a million dollars look like and, now, he works with millions of dollars like it is nothing!

That mindset was the thematic essence threaded throughout this camp. Although right now we may not know what the true utility of money is, we still need to learn about it. When we venture out into the real world, we will understand how to handle our finances, build our own economy and make smart financial decisions to benefit our futures. It is crucial to teach the youth about the significance of embracing our creativity and how it is connected to our financial well-being.

I am eighteen years old, about to embark on my journey at UC Davis, but my ecstatic emotions feel limited due to student loans. But imagine having the freedom to never having to worry about finances when it comes to college? It may seem like an unknown reality, but this camp allows for that visionary thought to manifest. These students are learning about entrepreneurship and how to properly become a master in the art of communication and storytelling, which is momentous in the process of obtaining scholarship money.

All of the success stories our speakers shared had one thing in common, and that is resilience, persistence, and creativity. They saw a problem and created a novel idea to solve it. Creativity is something we are born with and can be strengthened through practice. That is what Alumni360 does, we practice and implement creativity in our activities, but it is ultimately up to the individual to apply it to their everyday lives.

Studies have shown that 15% of financial success is dealing with the literacy of money, but the other 85% is due to the ability to negotiate, communicate and lead. Alumni360 equipped us with the tools to become the master negotiator, but it was up to us to work towards that goal. We happily took on that challenge.

The EntreArts camp was a camp like no other. The fruit gained from this seed gave us the wake-up call that was necessary for us to embark on our next steps for creating solutions. Alumni360 has given us the training wheels, empowering us with determination and motivation.  But ultimately, we decide if we want to take action and ride this bike onto our paths of achieving our dreams.

We would love to help you get your training wheels at our next camp, just visit our website and check out our EntreArts 2019 video!

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