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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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For Sammy

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This column is dedicated to Sammy. I met her during a weekend visit to Squirrel Island off the coast of Maine. The island is a summer cottage colony where folks from Maine, around the country and the world come to spend weeks in beautiful cottages while swimming, sailing, playing tennis, lounging on rocking chairs overlooking the ocean and enjoying the best of summer in Maine. Many of the families have summered here for generations. There is a church, library, ice cream stand and post office on the island. There are no cars, restaurants, shops or stores.

I was walking to the beach one afternoon when I saw a little girl sitting behind a card table in front of the post office. She had stacks of duct tape in bright colors and she was very busy crafting bracelets, wallets and gift tags from the tape. We struck up a conversation. I learned that she was selling her wares. She showed me her price list - $1.50 for a braided duct tape bracelet. I immediately placed an order. She asked me to choose my colors. I went with purple, green and yellow. She said she would have my order ready in 10 15 minutes.

As I watched her carefully craft my bracelet I asked her how her business was going. She told me it was going very well and that she had grossed $85.00 to date. I learned that Sammy is 8 years old and comes to the island every summer. She spends the rest of the year living in San Francisco, but Maine is her favorite place. She told me about her family and her brothers (who were hanging around and helping her fill orders). She was clearly 'in charge' of her business enterprise and proud of it. I talked about being in business and that I too had businesses when I was a kid and now the kids in my family (with my help) had started making bracelets and selling them! We compared our bracelet designs and business 'notes' as she painstakingly measured my wrist to be certain my new duct tape bracelet would fit me properly!

I couldn't help but note our parallel lives. I too was a summer kid in Maine. I too am originally from California. We have the same freckles and the same passion for business! We also both care about giving back. Sammy had a sign on her table that said a percentage of her sales would be donated to the island community garden.

When Sammy put the bracelet on me I paid her (more than her asking price). I gave her a hug and encouraged her to never stop being innovative, being entrepreneurial and giving back. I walked away with a new accessory, a smile on my face and joy in my heart inspired by this little girl and hopeful for our future. I hope that one day Sammy decides as I did to make Maine her permanent home and to bring her business smarts and entrepreneurial skills back to this State that she loves so much.

If Sammy represents our future economy then (like my new bracelet) it's bright! I commend the island for encouraging their young people to 'set up shop' at the post office and to her parents and family for letting her do her entrepreneurial thing! I encourage you to do whatever you can to help the young people in your lives pursue their entrepreneurial passions.

I plan to wear her bracelet every day this summer to remind me of her as I do my best to make Maine the place she will want to return to one day to not only visit but to live and to do business. Thank you Sammy you made my trip to the island much more than a weekend get-away you made me excited for what the future holds for this great place I am proud to call my year round home. One day I hope you will call Maine your home as well.

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