(ADAM VOGLER) [Order this photo]
The students were part of the 20th annual Camp Enterprise at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center organized by the Rotary Club.
The goal of the camp was to introduce students to real-world business issues through a computer simulation.
Students were divided into 14 teams and asked to run their own business: a holographic manufacturing company. They chose team names before strategizing financial decisions for their companies over the course of 32 quarters, which equals eight years of operation.
Kenn Ruff, a member of the Jackson Rotary Club, has been a member of the Camp Enterprise Seminar Committee for 19 years. He said the students are given about three minutes to enter data for each simulated quarter.
"They make all the financial decisions," Ruff said. "They decide what the prices should be, production time, marketing, even what to spend on charitable donations."
At the end of the camp, results for each company are compiled to determine the team that reported the greatest "retained earnings," or who has the biggest pile of imaginary cash left at the end.
Jackson seniors James Chaffin and Alison Schreiner described the camp as highly competitive.
"The gaming is fun, but also stressful," Schreiner said. "But it really helps put real life and business in perspective."
Chaffin agreed and said "watching the rise and drop of each business" kept the camp interesting.
"This camp has been a really awesome experience," said Kyle Thieret, a senior at Perryville (Mo.) High School. "I'm having fun and making a lot of new friends here."
According to Ruff, experiences like these are why he continues to support Camp Enterprise.
"Students don't have anything like this in school," he said. "It gives them a glance at what's involved in operating a business, whether it's medicine or accounting -- any business."
At the end of the program, four $500 scholarships funded by the Rotary Clubs of Jackson, Cape, Perryville, Sikeston, Mo., and Ste. Genevieve, Mo., were given to students via random drawing. Local businesses donated prizes to be given away in drawings and for competition winners.
The winning teams of the Camp Enterprise competition were the Fantastic Four and Holograms R Us.
1080 S. Silver Springs Road, Cape Girardeau, Mo.