The Finance Camp takes Roaring Fork teens for a dive into the world of investing
The Finance Camp will host all Roaring Fork High teens and parents interested to embark on a journey through the world of investing Wednesday, with no financial cost for those wanting to attend.
The free event, created by Ron Speaker, an expert with many years in the investment sector, is designed to guide and mentor the youth in the intricacies of the financial world. This comprehensive camp, which Speaker said is only one of many to come in the future, incorporates hands-on learning, state-of-the-art software programs, and real-time trading platforms usually inaccessible to teenagers.
“We will cover basics and advanced concepts of investing while transacting using real funds provided to each student,” Speaker said.
Distinguished guest lecturers will also join the camp, sharing their vast experiences from diverse asset classes, including private equity and cryptocurrencies.
Speaker began this initiative in 2022, navigating through social media and word-of-mouth promotions, eventually reaching out to schools across the valley.
“I was advertising the camp through social media and word of mouth. I ended up visiting the high schools,” Speaker said. “I spoke to all the financial literacy teachers in the valley that would let me.”
He managed to gather 50 students — of which he selected 12 — from Glenwood Springs, Basalt, Roaring Fork, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and Aspen High School, ranging in age from 14 to 17. The students committed to a community service project worth $500, ensuring their commitment and granting them initial capital for their investment journey. The student who was able to increase their account the most was awarded $5,000 from Speaker himself.
“And those students have to perform a community service project, equivalent to $500 to be admitted into camp,” Speaker said. “On the first day of camp, I gave them $500 to be put into their investment account.”
Highlighting the authenticity and significance of this camp, Speaker emphasized the use of real funds as opposed to the more common simulated experiences.
“A lot of the financial simulations out there use $100,000 of fictitious money,” Speaker said. “It was fascinating to see how they invested and the risks that they took during that week.”
Speaker draws inspiration from his past, crediting two significant mentors, Michael McGoldrick and Thomas Bailey, for their guiding roles in his life. He shared a poignant memory of McGoldrick, who once had a chance meeting with a young Bill Gates.
“They come from the blessings I had from two wonderful mentors during my early life,” Speaker said. “I’m going to be telling the story of Michael, who was an investor all his life. He had some amazing experiences such as meeting Bill Gates when Bill Gates was 15 years old, because Michael was a teacher.”
Speaker’s profound desire to give back stems from his own introspective journey.
“You get to that stage in your life, and you really want to make a difference,” Speaker said. “If you want to learn what your life is about, write your own eulogy. I wanted the third part of my life to be servicing and giving back to the community.”
He believes that teenagers are in a unique position to start their financial journey, harnessing the power of time and compounding to their advantage.
“Here we help them start the conversation about investing,” Speaker said. “There is a magical time for teens between 15 to 25 years old to kickstart their investing career because they will have 50 years of compounding on their side. This is a gift they don’t know they possess.”
The Finance Camp is set to take place 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at Tacaw, 400 Robinson St., Basalt.
To learn more about The Finance Camp, visit thefinancecamp.com.
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