Choc(olates) full of good ideas

FROM LEFT, Maggie Klung, Allison Disch and Caroline Kluge created their brand MAC Chocolates as an acronym that combined the first letter of each of their names. MAC Chocolates had the opportunity to present its brand at the Maker Faire in Milwaukee. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

This June, children in Green Lake, between kindergarten and 8th grade, can learn the process of making chocolate from farm to table, design and create their own chocolate brand and present their product at the Town Square Market.

Camp Chocolate is marketed as a “delicious learning experience” designed to teach children about sustainable agriculture, chocolate making, economics and marketing.

The course runs for three weeks in June and costs $30 per child, with materials provided.

The camp runs Tuesday, June 11 to Friday, June 14 for kindergarteners to 2nd graders; Tuesday, June 18 to Friday, June 21 for 3rd to 5th graders; and Tuesday, June 25 to Friday, June 28 for 6th to 8th graders.

For each of the weeks, the camp will run Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and Fridays  from 2 to 5 p.m.

Camp Chocolate is run inside Town Square by Heather Rawlings Davis, the founder and owner of the Appleton-based hot fudge company PolliWogs. The company uses only cocoa grown from sustainable farms.

“I’ve been manufacturing chocolate sauces,” Davis said. “I kind of wanted to use my education, and my background with an educators license.”

The camp is designed to encourage students, outside of the school year, to meet and exceed K12 educational standards, Davis noted.

“It talks about culinary science and the arts,” she said. “At the end of the thing, after working on different projects that involve different critical thinking skills, they participate in an artisan market.”

Davis noted last year a group of students created a chocolate brand MAC Chocolates, and she helped them present their brand at Maker Faire Milwaukee.

“I think they enjoyed that sense [of] being their own business owner, creating their own companies, branding their own products and simply following their own creative passions with something,” she said.

Green Lake Renewal Marketing Manager Jorge Gutierrez believes the event opens doors for children by teaching them economic lessons, sustainable practices and other valuable life skills.

“We tie it all together with chocolate so it’s interesting for kids,” Gutierrez said. “There are kids that come into this and they’ve never done anything like it before and they find they really love a certain component of the camp.”

The skills taught at Camp Chocolate are transferable, Gutierrez said and can be used by children later in life.

“[Davis] also teaches them about economics and business through this camp, by helping them make a business plan for their chocolate,” Gutierrez said. “She goes [and] teaches them about pricing and then creating discounts and stuff like that.”

Gutierrez noted this year the camp is adding the third week for middle schoolers.

“Last year, we had two weeks,” Gutierrez said. “We only did two grade levels and this [year] we’re adding a third week for middle school kids. And so, [last year] went really well, we had about 20 people in each group, each week.”

Town Square got involved with Camp Chocolate when Davis pitched the idea for the event. It was perfect timing as Town Square was subsequently looking for more activities aimed at children at the time.

Gutierrez hopes by adding the week for middle schoolers, another group can go to Milwaukee and present their brand to 40,000 people.

“It’s good for the parents, but it’s also good for Green Lake because it’s a small group of kids from Green Lake going out into Milwaukee to represent this camp, and kind of represent the town,” Gutierrez said.