For 23 campers, middle school isn't too young to start thinking about the future - or business plans and marketing.

For 23 campers, middle school isn't too young to start thinking about the future - or business plans and marketing.

This month Dublin's first teen entrepreneur camp began offering tours, lessons and insight into the world of business.

With 23 participants ranging in ages from 11 to 14, the three-week camp that ends this week gave students a look into the working world with days that go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students also got a lesson from 10 different companies on the inner-workings of a business. Each carried a challenge.

"The Tim Hortons challenge was to sell coffee and donuts at city buildings," camp supervisor Bryan Arnold said.

Perio, the Dublin-based business behind Barbasol, was scheduled to meet with the students and focus on marketing, shelf position in the store and other facets.

Students then created a scent and label they thought would appeal to consumers.

Campers also conspired on a business plan during camp days; the group was divided into six teams of four and charged with coming up with a business plan and prototype of their product.

Other items on the camp's agenda included a networking lunch and insight into other networking tools: Facebook and Twitter.

Scott Hanks, recreation supervisor, said each team has a twitter account and Facebook page, and one challenge is to get the most followers.

"The mindset for an entrepreneur is, they never really leave their job at the end of the day," he said. "And these kids are checking Twitter when they go home."

According to Hanks, the camp was a collaboration between Dublin's parks and recreation and economic development departments and teaches not just "with lectures and tours, but (also) the success and failures of businesses."

"We treat it like getting a job," Arnold said, adding that campers were interviewed before earning a spot in the camp. "We'll give them an exit interview to see how much they've learned. We're trying to treat it like a business as much as possible, but remember that they are middle-schoolers."

Each day begins with a staff meeting, and campers are given an agenda for the day. Some of the members of Dublin's first teen entrepreneur camp aren't thrown off by meetings and challenges.

"I like the program a lot," Devon Buchanan said, citing the Tim Hortons Challenge and visit to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium as his favorites.

Zena Spratley said she also enjoyed selling items during the Tim Hortons Challenge.

"It's really fun and gives us a lot of freedom but there's still a lot of learning," she said.

For Spratley, who will enter the sixth grade at Davis Middle School in the fall, the camp was an opportunity to learn.

"It seemed very interesting because it's new and would help with a business as small as a lemonade stand," she said. "I thought it would give me skills for the rest of my life."

"I want to be an entrepreneur when I grow up," said Buchanan, who will be a seventh-grader at Sells Middle School in the fall. "I thought it would teach me and be fun."

Hanks and Arnold plan to expand the program next year. Hanks said the camp eventually could extend to adults and baby boomers.

"Next year we envision different groups going through different tiers (of the program)," Hanks said, adding that although they don't want to be exclusionary, the program will be capped. "We want them to feel they can work intimately and not just a mass lecture. We thought smaller groups would definitely achieve better."

Age groups could be extended next year, but Hanks said they'll work on having this year's class return next summer.

"We wanted to hit a growth market. We wanted a group that could grow with us," he said.

The first Dublin Teen Entrepreneur camp will end Friday; an open house will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center, 7003 Post Road, for teams to present their business ideas.

A four-person panel will judge the ideas and announce a winner at the end of the day.