Last week (July 22-25), high school students from around the globe experienced various business majors and explored careers in the world of business at the second annual 4-H Business Camp cohosted by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics and WVU Extension Service.
Students had an immersive WVU experience throughout the duration of the camp, staying in dorms, exploring Morgantown and the campus, and visiting the WVU Student Rec Center, Outdoor Education Center and other locations around town.
“For many of these students, this experience provides them the first opportunity to come to Morgantown or to see WVU beyond an athletic event. Youth learn independence and have the opportunity to master new skills. They gain experiences outside of their local communities,” said Brent Clark, program director of 4-H Youth Development for WVU Extension Service. “They have the chance to form positive relationships with peers who have similar educational interests as well as positive adult role models who can encourage them to pursue their goals and interests. It allows them the opportunity to know that they can make our state a better place.”
Even though the students were on a college campus, it was important for them to know this was still camp. Through mini lessons and activities, the future business leaders had a fun, engaging experience. They toured the Morgantown Marriott to get a snapshot of the hospitality industry; participated in the egg drop exercise to demonstrate strategy, which was executed by Dr. Olga Bruyaka, assistant professor of management; learned about various business careers from the B&E Center for Career Development; and discussed what was happening in the state with West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III via Skype.
“Business is everywhere, and that’s what we’re trying to teach these kids. We want to help them connect the dots that business can be applied in every field,” said Dr. Suzanne Gosden Kitchen, B&E teaching associate professor of management and camp director. “No matter what you’re interested in – if you’re interested in hospitals, guess what, business is there. If you’re interested in banking, guess what, business is still there. If you’re interested in human resources, business is there. Wherever their interest lies, we want to show them the business piece of it that they may have known was there, but didn’t know how to call it business.”
In addition to the partnership between B&E and the WVU Extension Service with many faculty champions joining in to teach lessons and activities, camp was a cross-functional and collaborative effort. It was also an international experience for the students as well, as six of the campers were from Puerto Rico and one camper was from Russia. Two students hailed from Maryland, and the other five were from around the state of West Virginia.
Mason Harp, a high school senior from Fayette County, said he wanted to come to business camp because he was interested in learning more about the majors and what life would be like next year when he is a WVU Mountaineer freshman. Now is he not only more comfortable on campus, but by the end of camp, he discovered new passions and what he wants to do with his future, presenting on resorts and hospitality during the final exhibition.
“I want to double major in hospitality and tourism management and marketing at WVU and use that to help the state,” Harp said. “I was born and raised in West Virginia. My family has very strong ties to the state, so I want to help the state grow in a more business-oriented manner, whether it's timber, coal, tourism, manufacturing or agriculture. I want to do something that helps West Virginia grow.”