'Business camp' highlighted at Chamber meeting
By Rob Wheary
PAXINOS -Brush Vallley Regional Chamber of Commerce members learned Tuesday about a week-long summer program in Williamsport that helps develop a business acumen among today's high school students and future business leaders.
Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) was the topic during the membership luncheon held this month at Masser's Restaurant.
Presented by the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, PFEW welcomes more than 1,600 high school juniors and seniors from across the state to Lycoming College for what Bethany Adamski, a senior at Southern Columbia Area High School and past participant, called "Business Camp."
"I didn't know one person there," Adamski said. "After going through the process, I'm not only a better person, but I got a little glimpse into a future I hope to achieve and gain the knowledge as to how a business is run, and made some great friends I keep in contact with."
Adamski and her group formulated a marketing plan and ran a fictional company that created the "Brush-Flex," a new toothbrush on the market. Commercials were developed, stockholder meetings were held and she gained an appreciation for the whole process.
Dave Hall, a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force and director of operations for Heritage Aviation LLC, based at the Penn Valley Airport, Selinsgrove, has been a volunteer at PFEW for several years, including as a keynote speaker.
"Many of the business leaders that volunteer their time for this event say it is one of the most rewarding weeks they are part of," Hall said. "This is the largest program of its kind in the country," and other states are starting it look to Pennsylvania as a model.
More than 600 businesses and 100 chambers of commerce sponsor students to attend the event. Adamski was sponsored by the Columbia-Montour Chamber of Commerce. It costs $525 to send one student to the workshop.
More information about PFEW can be found through high school guidance departments or at www.pfew.org.
Hall spoke on behalf of John J. Trombetta, president and CEO of the Foundation for Free Enterprise Education, who was originally scheduled to speak but could not attend.
Sandy Winhofer, Brush Valley chamber director, welcomed Mount Carmel Outpatient Rehab and Fitness, represented by the director of outpatient rehabilitation, Frank Oswald, as a new member.
Tuesday's luncheon was sponsored by Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Coal Township, represented by Amy Zalar, director of business development; Cindy Goretski, assistant director of nursing and Chris Derr, director of environmental services.
Zalar reported Mountain View will host an American Red Cross Bloodmobile from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 1.
The next chamber membership luncheon is set for Tuesday, March 19, at Harry's Grill, Shamokin, with a representative of Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital speaking.
Bucknell University's Small Business Development Center will host a special First Step Pre-Business Workshop at the chamber office from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 3. The workshop is for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin the process of successful business ownership including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan and exploring financial options.
Thanks to a special sponsorship donation by First Columbia Bank and Trust, the workshop is free, but registration is required. Call the center at 577-1249, e-mail SBDC@bucknell.edu or visit www.bucknell.edu/scrpit/sbdc/seminars.asp.
April 3 will also be the date of the chamber's annual job fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Masser's Banquet Hall, Paxinos. More details on the event will be upcoming.