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7/10/2004

Park City kids fly high

Date: July 10, 2004

Publication: Park Record (Park City, UT)

Author: Jared Whitley, Of the Record staff

Summer camps at Westminster College in Salt Lake City are giving high school students opportunities for growth and adventure, and Park City teens are among them.

The camps cover three areas: finances, aviation, and entrepreneurship. The same instructors who teach college and MBA students help high school students get a head start on their careers. If the high school students are at least sophomores, theyare eligible to earn college credit during the camp. Camp participants even stay in Westminster dorms.

In the Finance Camp, students invest an imaginary $1 million portfolio with the PTS Trader computer program, and watch fortunes rise or fall with market changes. Students check the data boards on the global markets and watch as currencies fluctuate.

They test solutions to finance problems with both live markets and historical data from financial information providers like Reuters.

Anna Seidelman, daughter of Westminster Provost Cid Seidelman, attended the finance camp.

"I was a little stressed out when my dad told me I was going to finance camp," said the 15-year-old-Park City High School student. "I don't think most teenage girls are generally thrilled about finance."

Seidelman said she was "totally shocked" by how fun and educational the camp was. And she was pleased that "The kids there turned out to not be really big nerds."

Seidelman invested her imaginary $! Million in various stocks like GE, Walmart, and Verizon, because "everyone loves a cell phone," she said. In the end of the week, her virtual portfolio increased by $8,000.

The most important thing she learned was "buy low, sell high!" she said, commenting, "They drilled that into my head."

"Don't be deceived by the name 'finance' because I ended up learning a lot and having fun," Seidelman said. "Finance does not sound like that much fun for a summer camp [so] I told them they should change their name."

In the Aviation Camp, students test their piloting skills in flight simulators and engage in a simulated competition. They also get to take two actual flights at the controls of one of 15 new planes. Students learn about aerodynamics, aviation history, and weather. Teens also take aviation-related field trips and learn about career options in aviation.

"It was really fun," said Ian Darr, 13, a Parkite who attends Rowland Hall. He attended the June aviation camp. "I learned a lot, it wasn't always one boring thing, we did a lot of fun tours."

"I wanted to see what it was like to fly," said Daniel Actor, 14, who will start at Park City High School in the fall. This is the first time he flew an airplane, and he's considering aviation as a career choice.

Darr and Actor's group toured the Salt Lake International Airport, Sky West, and fire fighting stations equipped to put out aviation-related fires.

Camp instructors taught the students about careers in aviation. Darr said starting pilots make about $20,000 and fly cargo on "totally nasty flights," but situations improve for pilots who perform well.

Darr participated in the camp because he wants to get an amateur piloting license and pursue a career in aerospace engineering. Several of the kids in his group wanted to join the Air Force, he said.

The two flights were from the Salt Lake International Airport to the airports in Heber and Brigham City. So impressed with the camp, Darr said he's definitely going back next year, and Actor said the whole experience was great.

In the Entrepreneurship and Leadership Camp, students meet with entrepreneurs and develop their ideas into a proper business plan. Students learn about the secrets of a business start-up, leadership skills, and how to write financial plans. One evening is devoted to learning business etiquette.

"With Westminster's facilities and faculty, the students challenge themselves and find abilities they didn't know they had," said Aric Krause, associate dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, in a press release. Whether they immerse themselves in global financial markets, take the controls of a plane for the first time, or push their limits on the ropes course, they are exploring their futures and finding new strengths within themselves."

Another round of week-long camps will run from July 11 to 16. They cost $469. For more information, consult westerminstercollege.edu.