Mountain Style: Learner’s Permit

Encouraging the young entrepreneur

By Tibby Plasse

Norm Goldstein believes kids have a knack for business, if you give them the chance. Founder of By Kids For Kids (, an educational and family marketing company, Goldstein creates opportunities for minors to test their ideas. He believes that “kids at a certain age don’t want to be told what to do. They want to be empowered.” By taking charge of their own projects, young entrepreneurs exercise their organizational and follow-through skills while also forming a “big picture” toolset that involves decision-making, perspective, and efficacy.

Below, a few local kids—with some impressive goals—show us how it’s done:

Last year, Gigi Charette, of Victor, Idaho, was super into the American Girl series. She had been following Grace’s story about opening a delivery patisserie in France, and dreamt of the same opportunity. Simultaneously, Gigi adopted a restrictive diet at home. Her diet resulted in alternative baking so she could still enjoy sweets in the pantry. Following no-grain chef Danielle Walker’s recipes, Gigi planned a bake sale with three dessert menu options: chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and pumpkin doughnuts with maple-bacon frosting. She set up shop in front of the Knotty Pine during Victor’s Fourth of July parade and sold out! During the baking process, Gigi made sure she was precise with the recipe—too much coconut flour could cause an explosion. “It was a lot of fun,” she says, “And I earned enough to buy my own camera.”

The 4-H program, on both sides of the hill, teaches kids how to fully participate in the process of entrepreneurship and responsibility. They raise animals and keep ledgers and journals, noting their expenses and daily experiences. Their recordkeeping is then judged alongside the animals at local 4-H fairs. First-timers Cade and Garret Walz, eleven-year-old twins from Driggs, raised Hampshire pigs last summer through the Teton County 4-H. They set out with the goal of raising enough money to purchase their own dirt bikes. And while raising the bike money was great, the experience was even better. “They were awesome,” Cade says of the pigs. “We fed them two to three times a day and made sure they were taken care of,” adds Garret, as he explains the kiddie pool setup they created to keep their animals happy. The boys go back and forth as they recount the fair experience, explaining that their two busy days of cleaning and getting dressed up were fun and exciting. Even though it was daily work, the twins are looking forward to raising lambs this season.