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Inspiration for All

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Meet Isa and Emma, the young entrepreneurs of Inspired Grounds in Denmark

This column is for those of you classified as teens. Especially if you think you have talents that aren’t recognized by the adults around you. If I remember correctly, that is probably most of you – and you could well be right.

In Denmark, there is an empty building owned by the village. It used to be a bank. Except for the historical society’s museum in the basement, the building is empty.

Isa and Emma, two local teens, set about planning. They had a vision for the old bank building – a coffee shop where people could gather, teens could work and learn, and an empty building could be useful again.

Last month, Isa and Emma presented to their local, elected Village Board. In what seems to be warp speed for most elected leadership, that very night the board approved the teens request to start a ‘pop-up’ coffee shop in the building.

There are a few important things we can learn from the teens in Denmark. And from the adults in Denmark, too.

Teens often assume their ideas and suggestions will be shut down. Sometimes that happens. But if you plan well and work to understand your local system you may be surprised how enthusiastic adults are to hear from you. Isa and Emma met resounding success with their proposal. They prepared. They took their initial idea to a community group they felt would be supportive. They followed recommendations from seasoned adults on how to successfully start a small business/non-profit and how to present their plan. One of those adults helped the students develop financial plans. They requested and received an audience at a Village Board meeting. They blew the Board members away with their competence!

Just like the rest of us, teens benefit from the opportunity to learn, make mistakes, recover, improve their ideas, and fail or succeed with guidance and support from others. They need acceptance and encouragement. Denmark’s response to Isa and Emma gives us a roadmap on how to respond.

Adults, we need to include teens. Not just as a token at the table. In Denmark there is a group of community members called One Denmark. One Denmark is focused on bringing Denmark’s many assets together to be efficient and responsive to community needs. They include and encourage teens as critical members of their team. It pays off.

Teens, you shouldn’t sit around waiting for someone to ask you if you’ll help or what you think. When you or your friend have an idea, talk it through. Think about who you can enlist to help. Get busy and get it done.

Denmark will have a coffee shop to bring people together. What could your community, school, church or neighborhood have to bring people together?

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