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Junior Achievement Luncheon Summerside

From left are, Mark O'Keefe, first vice president of the Summerside Chamber of Commerce, Paul Murray, vice-chair of the Junior Achievement P.E.I. board of directors, Wayne McDonald, guest speaker and representing Luncheon sponsor Cavendish Farms, and sponsors; Sarah Millar, Consolidated Credit Union, Peter Griffin, W. P. Griffin Inc., Terry Shea, PEI Mutual.

SUMMERSIDE – A high-ranking businessman in one of the largest companies operating in Atlantic Canada said on Wednesday that young people don’t think enough about their future. And while that particular kernel of wisdom has probably been true throughout human history – it’s becoming ever more poignant in today’s world, he added. Wayne McDonald, senior vice president of corporate relations for J.D. Irving Ltd., addressed the annual Junior Achievement lobster luncheon on Wednesday, and following the event, he mused about what challenges he sees young business people facing.

The luncheon is one of the largest annual fundraisers for Junior Achievement on P.E.I. and was held at the Summerside Golf and Country Club. Junior Achievement is an international not-for-profit organization that brings experienced business people into contact with teachers and young people through of its after school extracurricular and in-class programs. McDonald is a mentor in the Junior Achievement program and regularly deals with young people who want to become entrepreneurs. And what he sees is a greater need for more young people to plan ahead – starting with what they want to do with their lives. “One of the biggest shortcomings of younger people is not thinking about (their career) early enough. It’s never too early to start thinking about it,” he said. Grade school is the time young people should be making plans for their future, he added. “That’s the time to start exploring things. Getting to know other business people, finding out how they started and finding out what some of the basic skills and basic attributes of being an entrepreneur are really all about,” he said. His second piece of advice issue is for young people is to sit down with someone with experience and map out a financial plan in life. “Aligning your lifestyle and your needs in life to your income is probably one of the critical things to do early in life. If you want to live in a high lifestyle travel a lot, live in a nice home or drive a nice car and you don’t understand the income level needed to support that, you’re going to be a very unhappy person,” he said. “It seems over the last number of years young people have gotten away from looking at that until they’re 22 or 24, and sometimes that’s a late point in life to be thinking about it.” That’s why Junior Achievement is such an excellent program, added McDonald “Junior Achievement is very well established on P.E.I. They run programs throughout the Island at many different schools. Some school might have all the program offerings, some might only have select offerings – but they all do a great job and they help to teach youth about preparing for life,” he said.

Paul Murray, incoming chair of the Junior Achievement board of directors on P.E.I., said following the luncheon, that the program is always looking for more volunteers like McDonald. Anyone who believes this might be something they would like to pursue can find more information online at www.prince-edward-island.jacan.org. Kids should get involved, he added, because, like McDonald expressed, there is no age too young to start thinking about your future. “Junior Achievement prepares them for the future, essentially,” said Murray. “You see students that have the book smarts and we take them to the next level and try to teach them economics of the real world, so that when they get out of school they are more able to deal with it,” he added.


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