Back in 2002, a young woman named Elisabeth Donati, made a life-changing decision…though she didn’t know it at the time…to create a financial literacy camp for kids that she called The Money Camp.
That first summer, 39 bright, eager youngsters, ages 9-16, shuffled, sauntered, raced and even dragged themselves into a hot, stuffy room at a local Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club.
In just 5 days, including a very fun field trip on Friday, those 39 kids learned as much about money and investing as she and her partner, Larry Stein (who passed away in 2006) could teach them.
Camp Millionaire for Kids & Teens
Over the years, the camp, now called Camp Millionaire, morphed into an activity based, fun-filled, financial education camp where kids actually had FUN learning about money! And along the way, we gave birth to The Money Game.
It started as a way to let the students experience, viscerally, what it felt like to have to do a little work (push ups, sit ups, run around the room) in order to get a paycheck and then have to put all the bills that most adults have to pay on a monthly basis.
Then we started working in a money management system called The Money Jars so that the students were learning how to manage this paycheck. And of course, the first principles we taught them was…Pay Yourself First!
Once they had saved up some money from their paychecks, we realized we could let them experience investing in assets (real estate, business and the stock market) and then provide them with the ultimate payoff for wise investing…passive income from those assets.
Over the years, the game continued to grow, morph, develop into the powerful financial education teaching tool it is today. As each of our instructors learned to teach the game as part of our Camp Millionaire summer camps, they also continued to make changed. Pamela Capalad who taught for us for three years, was instrumental in tweaking and documenting the game from the very beginning.
In 2009, we began to realize that we had literally created a stand-alone financial education program within the context of the game itself, and that’s where the magic began.
Now, teachers, parents, grandparents, church youth group leaders and others are using the game to teach kids, teens and adults about money in a way that is fun and effective.