By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — Local kids and business owners showcased their talents at the fourth annual RCS Middle School Craft Fair on Sunday.
Typically held outside, this year’s fair was moved indoors due to rainy weather.
Dozens of vendors offered everything from food to stuffed animals to jewelry, toys, crafts and more.
And there was a “Young Entrepreneurs” section, where students could showcase their own talents.
“This is our fourth year,” said RCS Middle School PTSO President Michelle Williams. “We have young entrepreneurs who pay $5 per table and they sell the things that they make. We also have vendors that sell crafts and food.”
Students in the district’s Junior National Honor Society and National Honor Society also accumulated community service hours by lending a hand at the event.
For the young entrepreneurs who participate, the fair is a chance to explore the experience of owning and operating a business, to learn new skills and to possibly find a new interest that can turn into a future career.
“This gives the kids a chance to be a young entrepreneur. They pay $5 and they get a space and can sell whatever they make,” Williams said. “They learn how to deal with money, they learn what goes into having a business. It’s a good experience for them.”
Williams’ two children collaborated on hosting a table. Her daughter, Isabella, made cake pops, and then Isabella paid 20% of her sales profit to both her brother and his friend to staff the sales table.
In addition to paying a fee to host a table, professional vendors were also required to make a donation to the raffle table to raise additional funds for the PTSO.
“Each vendor pays a fee to enter but they also have to donate something that they are selling,” Williams said. “And then we raffle them off. That’s how we really make money because this is a fundraiser for the kids at the middle school.”
The money raised is used throughout the year for whatever the school and students need, she added. It can be used for classroom supplies or even to help fund field trips, among other things. Last year, paying for field trips became a costly endeavor and the PTSO helped out.
“Last year we ran into the problem of transportation because there are not enough bus drivers,” Williams said. “If the field trip goes a certain number of miles, they need to have a bus with a bathroom so then we need a charter bus. Last year, it cost $4,500 just for transportation to send the eighth graders to Cooperstown, where they visited the (Baseball) Hall of Fame.”
PTSO Vice President Melanie Potter said the annual craft fair is a community event that brings everyone together, but it is also a major fundraiser for the group and its efforts to aid to the middle school.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year, so it sets us up right at the beginning of the year to have a really good school year, so we don’t have to stress out over fundraising,” Potter said. “It also gives us a showcase for these young entrepreneurs. Not only does this get them to start thinking not only about the things they like and how to make money off the things they like, but they also get to relate to the other vendors and perhaps some adult role models. Maybe they will learn that they can really make a business out of this when they are older.”