That’s Harry Potter speak for those of you still unfamiliar, and there was plenty of it being tossed around the Gilliand household in Southwest Minneapolis last week, where a Hogwarts-themed day camp saw kids playing Quidditch, attending classes for Potions and Care of Magical Creatures, and choosing wands. With the final installment of the Harry Potter movies premiering last week, the daycamp's theme was timely, but its most remarkable features were its two directors.
The four-day camp was any Potter enthusiast’s dream, with everything from chocolate frogs to a talking Sorting Hat that divided the campers into their Hogwarts houses. The timing was also perfect, with the last day of camp coinciding with the release of the final Harry Potter film.
It would have been an impressive achievement for any entrepreneur. The theme was timely and relevant, the activities were varied and meticulously true to the story, and those running the camp, Professors Hailee and Julia, made sure the campers were always having fun and never bored. What made Hogwarts Camp remarkable, though, is that those two professors are 11-year-old Minnehaha Academy students. And this isn’t their first camp.
Three years ago, when best friends Hailee and Julia were nine, Hailee’s parents were looking over summer camp options for Hailee and her five-year-old brother Mason. Mason was nervous about being away from his family, though, and didn’t want to go away to day camp. Hailee had an idea.
“I thought that I would bring camp to him,” Hailee said. “I called Julia because she was my best friend and we did the camp.”
Simple as that. Together, the two hosted Jedi Training Camp for Mason and his friends over four days in the backyard. They had activities, snacks and trained the boys in light saber battles. They even enlisted Hailee’s nanny to play Darth Vader.
The first year was such a success that Hailee and Julia decided to host day camp again the next year, with Jedi Training Level Two, as well as a Sports Camp and a Princess Camp for Hailee’s four-year-old sister Kiya and her friends.
This year, the girls went back down to one camp and chose the theme, like responsible business owners, by listening to their market.
“Mason said they were really into Harry Potter this year and that Star Wars was old,” Julia said.
According to Hailee’s mom, Nicole Gilliand, the two girls handle everything with their day camp business, from marketing to payment collection.
“It’s all them,” Gilliand said, explaining she simply supplies the location.
This year, the girls sent out official letters inviting campers to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And with 12 campers at a fee of $25 each, they’ve seen a monetary reward for their efforts.
It should come as no surprise that the two are as responsible with their profits as they are diligent in their planning. Julia calls herself a saver and Hailee said she’s setting the money aside in hopes of one day visiting her family’s sponsor child in Zimbabwe.
It may take some time to save enough for a plane ride to Africa, but Hailee isn’t concerned. She and Julia plan to run another day camp next year, perhaps with a Pokemon theme, and in the meantime she said she has dog walking, babysitting, and an ice cream stand.
When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, Hailee confidently replied, “An entrepreneur.”
It seems, however, she’s already there.