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What does Lemonade Day mean to you?

When I was eight years old, I set up my first lemonade stand. It consisted of a table I found in my garage, traditional ice cold lemonade created from the Kool-Aid packets, red solo cups from my pantry, and an empty Folgers coffee can to act as my cash box.

I hauled all my equipment down to the end of my cul-de-sac and set up all my supplies. Fifteen minutes later, I was open for business.

About half an hour into selling, I grew overwhelmed with the responsibilities that entailed with being a small business owner. Between taking orders, pouring lemonade, making sure I had the right amount of change I realized I didn’t have enough hands to run the business alone. I was ready to give up and close up shop. After all, there may have been better things to do and running this stand was not my definition of summer fun.

I decided then to close up shop for a “lunch break” and then take the next half hour to go around to the other houses to see if any of the other neighborhood kids might want to join into my business. By the end of my lunch break six more friends joined my stand and changes had been made to better the business.

With the help of my friends, we improved the lemonade by making the lemonade from scratch and creating a range of flavors including traditional lemonade, strawberry, raspberry, and even mint lemonade. We replaced the Folgers coffee can with an actual cash box, and more friends had added to our supply of Red Solo Cups with cups from their house.

Now, instead of two hands, I had twelve extra to help, and we were cruising through our orders. Before I had estimated I would make around $20 from the stand. By the end of the day, our stand had made almost $100. I knew without the help of my neighbor friends, the stand could not have been successful.

Of course, I made sure to split up the funds equally when we had wrapped up for the day. Yes, I did make less than I expected to make alone - but would I have made $20 anyway when I could barely meet the needs of one customer when I did work alone? Absolutely not.

Additionally, I learned the essentials and the benefits for working with a team. By combining our strengths we were unstoppable. A few of my friends were shy around customers, but my sister and I enjoyed stopping traffic and creating cheers to intrigue customers. My math skills were never particularly strong, but Ralphie excelled, especially since he was performing at a 4th grade level instead of 3rd grade like the rest of us. Stephan enjoyed making the lemonade, and didn’t mind the fact that making the drinks from scratch was more challenging than from the packets.

And most importantly, I had more fun working with a team than I would have working alone. We were laughing, we were talking, we were spending a summer day productively and proactively.

When our mentors enter site service, we tell them to encourage the young entrepreneurs to work in teams to avoid the situation that I was in when I set up my lemonade stand. And most importantly, we do so so that our students have the positive and learning experience they get from working together.

This is truly reflected for the team of Lemonade Day DC.

It has been an absolute honor working with the team I have this year. Our six Vice Presidents, our committee members, our incredible City Director, and our General Body members make up one of the most hardworking teams I have ever been apart of. All of our team members, each bring a unique and essential strength whether it be organization, communication, empathy, to our team that helps us develop and produce marketing materials, relationships with small businesses and schools, and or over 100 mentors to teach our young entrepreneurs the Lemonade Day curriculum.

Our members make each day I work as President exhilarating and pleasurable experience. Not to say some days aren’t challenging or overwhelming, but I know when I send out a text or an email, I always know there’s a handful of VPs, committee members, a City Director that still advises us while balancing a full time job, and even General Body Members that are willing to help with whatever task it may be.

I always say Lemonade Day DC has a lot of moving parts that surely can’t be done alone and if it was it would fail. I would never think what it may be like to run Lemonade Day by myself as I’m sure our members would agree. Organizations like this thrive off of the leadership and capabilities of all those involved, regardless of their position.

Success is sweet, but even more so when the work was shared amongst a hard working team.

-Trianna Downing (President)

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