Josh Pierce – Chief Camp Officer at Camp Inc. in Boulder, CO – knows firsthand the importance of learning entrepreneurial skills early on as he’s built and sold several successful businesses over the years. Pierce is also well-acquainted with Jewish summer camp culture as he was a camper-turned-staff-member at Camp Chi, the Chicago Jewish Community Center’s overnight camp.
To launch Camp Inc., Pierce teamed up with Jonathan Lev and the Boulder JCC staff and quickly worked to bring the dream into reality. With his strong work ethic and passion for working with young entrepreneurs, Josh Pierce led the team to be accepted into the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s second incubator program in 2012 and received full funding for Camp Inc. through the Jim Joseph Foundation and Avi Chai Foundation.
As of Spring 2014, Camp Inc. sessions are scheduled and campers are actively enrolling for Summer 2014 programs! Meet the man behind the Camp Inc. success in our four question interview with Josh Pierce below:
Pierce: “I grew up attending Camp Chi as a camper starting in 5th grade. My time at overnight camp taught me about independence, gave me confidence, and taught me how to be a good role model. A lot of this came from my favorite counselor, Bob Pine. To this day, I still experience things, or find myself saying things that relate back to my time in his cabin; how he treated everyone as equals, the freedom he gave us to make mistakes and learn from them, and the lessons he taught us about being a team and being there for each other. These experiences play a large role in who I am as a father, and a business owner.”
Pierce: “Being on staff at Camp Chi taught me about responsibility, leadership, creativity and endurance. Whether I was on the waterski staff, helping out as a music specialist, on the ropes staff, or assisting with a cabin of campers, I always took a creative approach to my job. I learned to think proactively about my position and learned to roll with the changes. These are all life skills that got me through college, helped me launch my first company, and now allow me to be a great parent.”
Pierce: “I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and own my own businesses. I always had “get rich quick schemes” growing up in middle school and ran my own DJ company throughout high school and college.
Straight out of college, I launched my first real company here in Denver called Dance Trax Entertainment and Production. Dance Trax had a staff of about 18 and provided entertainers and production services for specials events such as Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and corporate events. Over the course of 10 years, I built Dance Trax into a household name in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah industry, opened a dance studio, launched an A/V production division, and sold a line of custom Hora Chairs to other DJ companies, hotels, and venues. In 2011, I sold Dance Trax to Jake Beaber, who at the time was running the DJ division of our biggest competitor. Today, Dance Trax is going strong and is still the most popular brand in Bar/Bat Mitzvah entertainment in Colorado. I enjoy creating things from scratch and turning ideas into a brand that other people love and value. After 10 years of the special events industry it was time to do something else.
While building my next company, TAGster, Inc., I got accepted into a business accelerator called The Founder Institute. It was there that I learned a ton about building a startup team, having mentors to support you, and running a tech based business. I launched TAGster shortly after finishing the accelerator and quickly signed on a couple big brands such as Subaru and Boulder Running Company. TAGster.com still exists today, with about 500 members. However, my focus is now on Camp Inc.”
Pierce: “The great thing about Camp Inc. is that it is a true mix of traditional overnight camp and a top notch business program. There is plenty of time for “fun in the sun”, and plenty of time to explore entrepreneurship.
The most important thing about Camp Inc. is that this experience is designed to be truly transformational. Within just a few days of arriving at camp, each camper will have met new friends from all over the country, they will have been introduced to several major entrepreneurs and investors, and will be looking at the world differently. By the end of camp, each camper will have participated in launching a new product or service, will have learned how to pitch a company to a panel of investors, will have a true understanding of what it takes to start their own business, and will have grown their Jewish identity. There will be an obvious transformation between the start and end of each session that will leave our campers changed for the better.”
Interested in signing up for Camp Inc. sessions this summer? Camp Inc. is a Boulder-based Jewish overnight summer camp for 7th-12th graders and is focused on youth entrepreneurship and business. Check out all our available summer camp programs here and this summer’s camp dates here.