Real Teenpreneur ~ Jordan Sanders JAM Camp Founder
I learned about Jordan and her summer camp a few months ago and was blown away but all that she’s done. I was so excited when she agreed to be interviewed for the LeadHERship community!
Can you tell us a little bit about your summer camp?
JAM Camp is a week-long camp held every summer. From 8:30AM – 4:00PM each day kids enjoy arts & crafts, sports activities, cooking/baking, scavenger hunts, dancing, game, etc. Each camp has a theme and we choose activities around the theme. We also incorporate learning into our activities and each day campers take home projects of the day to share with their parents.
What made you want to start a summer camp?
I wanted to start a camp because I wanted something fun for the kids to be able to do. JAM Camp gives kids the opportunity to be creative, have fun, and spend time with and make new friends.
How did you get your start-up funding?
My wonderful neighbor, Deneeka, gave me the idea and helped me set up a neighborhood “field day” with games and food. The funds raised from that were used to buy supplies to start JAM Camp. I also charge a small fee to attend JAM Camp to pay for food and craft items.
How did you learn to set up and run a summer camp?
Everyday in elementary school I would obsess over my teachers. What they wore, how their classroom was decorated, even the websites they printed the worksheets from. Then I would go home and print the same worksheets, put on my nicest clothes, and transform my bedroom into a classroom. I wanted to be a teacher soooo bad. I invited all the neighbor kids over every weekend to play school with me. I guess JAM Camp just kind of evolved from there.
How long have you been running your camp?
About three years. Each camp I have a friend help me. The last two years my friend, Tatiana, has helped me. We work well together since we both have different skill sets and work together to get everything done. I am also fortunate to have a lot of encouragement and support for JAM Camp from my neighbors Deneeka, Leslie and Nicole, and especially my mom!
Were your parents supportive when you first came up with the idea?
My mom thought it was a great idea and was very supportive. She wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of a dozen kids running around the house all day, but with a little persuasion we made it work. 🙂 My mom has become one of the many reasons JAM Camp is a success! She makes the lunch, gives me rides to the stores to purchase things, and makes the t-shirts. I can’t thank her enough. My dad was supportive and still proudly wears his JAM Camp t-shirt all the time!
What has been the hardest part of running your camp?
The hardest part of running JAM Camp was finding a balance between being indoors and outdoors and creating a comfortable space for all of the kids and their belongings.
Is there any part of runniing a camp that has been unexpected?
I honestly did not know the kids would love it as much as they did! I am often asked when the next JAM Camp will be. Some kids even say “I can’t wait until summer because I want to go to JAM Camp!”
What tips do you have for teens who want to start their own camp?
A tip I would give to anyone would be to believe in yourself. I never thought I would be able to start a summer camp at 13 years old, but I believed in myself. (My mom always tells me that I can do anything I want as long as I work for it and believe in it.) Also, stay true to yourself. If you have an idea and you want to pursue it, the sky is the limit and don’t let anything hold you back!