Halie Ferrenburg and Molly Cunningham, Writer and Reporter

This past summer, the week of July 23-29, 2017, I attended Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week hosted at Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  It is called Free Enterprise Week because a local business pays for the majority of the $1,500 cost to go. I was informed about this opportunity during my english class last year when a staff member gave a presentation about the program.  I was provided with all of the information that I needed to know so that I could apply online.  

The Kennametal Foundation sponsored me.  During this week I was able to experience the college life by staying in dorms, eating college food, and having the freedom of using the features of the campus.

This camp is one of the best ways to learn leadership skills, how to interact and communicate to new people, and how to adjust to a new environment.  Everyday there were two to three motivational speakers. Today, I still think about those speakers and how they had a positive impact on my life.

The point of this business camp is to save a failing company. You are given a product type, and you get to create your own product. Your company is made up of 18-20 juniors and seniors from around Pennsylvania.

My group was assigned skateboards. There were about eight different items that could have been assigned.  Our company’s name was Skate Plus.  Every day my schedule was packed. I had team meetings, motivational speakers, assemblies, meal time, free time, and special events planned for that day. Breakfast was served at 6:45-7:30 every day and lights were out by eleven most nights.

In our company we split into two groups- finance and marketing. I was on the finance team.  At the end of the week, Friday to be exact, the groups had to present two presentations, one for marketing/advertising and another for finance.

The marketing/advertising presentation consisted of the features of the board, what the website looks like, Instagram page, Facebook page, Twitter page etc.  The finance presentation consisted of charts of the overall sales, total assets, prices, and why we did what we did and how we decided to do so.

For the advertising we put ourselves in the position as if we were in the real world, thinking what where is as teens would see the advertisement- therefore us having an instagram, twitter and facebook along with the ads. Nothing at the camp was done online which is why we had to hand create everything.  Our instagram page looked the way that it did from drawing the skateboard and describing its features since we couldn’t use the internet.

Even though we didn’t win overall for our finance presentation, we won for the best in our topic with two other skateboard companies. After our marketing/advertising presentation the judges told us that they were blown away by our performance. They said it was the best they have seen in years.

Later that night at the banquet, when they announced the winners, we found out that our group did win for the overall best marketing/advertising presentation.  Seeing the happiness and enjoyment on the faces of my group members made the entire week worth going.

After the banquet, a college level dance party summed up the entire week to congratulate ourselves to all of our hard work.  

My group members were absolutely amazing people. I still talk to them to this day, three months after PFEW.

I recommend, if you have the chance, take a week out of your summer and take this opportunity. It may not sound fun to begin with, which I thought, but I underestimated it.  Honestly, I had one of the best experiences of my life at PFEW. I made long-life friends and grew as an individual.  Pennsylvania Free Enterprise week is a life changing opportunity.

~Halie Ferrenburg


      Official PFEW 2018 Dates:

Week 1 – July 1-7 (Lycoming College)
Week 2 – July 8-14 (Lycoming College)
Week 3 – July 22-28 (Lycoming College)
Week 4 – July 29 – Aug. 4 (Lycoming or  PCT)
(Note that during Week 4 there will be 2 sessions running at 2 different campuses.)
Early Bird Deadline – March 2, 2018
Final Deadline – April 6, 2018