Taking a peek at Lemonade Day Indianapolis

Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

It’s a warm, sunny day. You’re outside with your friends. You’re thirsty. But not for water, oh no. You need lemonade. And you figure other people will need to quench their thirst, too. So you grab a table, some chairs, some lemonade and all the fixins, and set up a lemonade stand. It will be a quick and easy way to make some money to spend at the arcade this weekend or donate to the animal shelter. Yes! It’s a plan!

Moving on to present day.

It’s a warm, sunny day. Your nine year old is outside with his friends. They’re thirsty. But no, not for water. They want lemonade. And they want you to make it and bring it to them before heading off to buy the newest video game that they are expecting you to pay for. Yes! It’s a plan!

You see the difference, yes?

Well back in 2007, that youthful entrepreneurial spirit felt forgotten for Michael Holthouse. A memory of yesteryear. So he channel that very spirit inside himself and launched an organization called Lemonade Day. His daughter wanted a pet turtle but didn’t have the money to pay for it. Michael told her she had to raise the money herself – why not host a lemonade stand to raise the funds?

RELATED: “It’s Time For Lemonade Day Indianapolis!”

Long story short, she did indeed have her own lemonade stand and Mr. Holthouse embarked on a new endeavor to teach other kids how to become entrepreneurs themselves. In 2009 he asked Indy resident Scott A. Jones to help expand his new program into the Circle City and Lemonade Day Indianapolis launched in 2010. There were 7,500 participants that first year and during Indy’s peak year there were 20,000 kids in the program {to this day that is the record for the 40+ cities who have signed on}!

A few days ago I sat down with Jami Marsh – Director of Lemonade Day Indianapolis – to talk about this amazing program for our youth and I will be totally honest: I was blown away! One of the things I remember most about our conversation was this statement: Lemonade Day is more than just a lemonade stand. To prove Ms. Marsh’s point, here are some facts about the program:

  • Lemonade Day Indianapolis has a website with an online curriculum for future mini entrepreneurs. Lemonoplis has lessons, games, points on how to find investors, make a marketing plan, and picking your ideal location. All of which, of course, are parts of starting any business.
  • The kids can use the website to set up their hours, put their stand on the map (if you are ok with that), and they can apply for seed money to help get their business up and running.
  • LDGI emphasizes on the three S’ : spending, sharing, saving. They strive to teach participants how important it is to do all three.
  • Lemonade Day is always the third Saturday in May each year. This year it’s May 21st. Registration opened March 1st and will stay open until the day of the event. Don’t worry, it isn’t necessary for each participant to go through the Lemonopolis program.

Jami was super excited to give us the scoop on some of the programs within LDI too; The Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Philanthropy Award… and two new partnerships with the Susan G. Komen Foundation {pink lemonade!} and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway {yes, a driver is involved!}.

My two kiddos are getting excited about having their own lemonade stand this spring… and I am excited to relive my childhood yet again with them. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something to be said about a hard day’s work and earning something yourself. If your children decide to have a lemonade stand please share your results with us. We’d love to see!

MORE INFO: Lemonade Day Indianapolis takes place on May 21, 2016. For mini entreprenuers, stands take place at the time and location of their choosing. To get registered, discover the supporting programs for your lemonade stand and map out your game plan, check out their website


Megan Leahy - Indy's Child Digital WriterA 30-something stay-at-home-mom of two, Megan Leahy is an Indy transplant who doesn’t like to stay at home. Originally from central Illinois, you can find her anywhere from the public library returning an overdue book or Target buying more than she went in for to taking her husband & kiddos out on the town or spending time with her friends at a local hot spot.

Megan is an avid volunteer who loves working with children and helping those in need. In 2015 she founded Pals on Patrol, a non-profit that collects new/very gently used stuffed animals that police, fire/rescue, and DCS staff can give to children in time of crisis. Follow her on Twitter or check out palsonpatrol.com.

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