As world-class polo players and fans celebrated the close of another exciting season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, enterprising business students from Palm Beach Atlantic University may have come out the biggest winners of all — at least from their perspective.
For successfully running the club’s popular Kids Fun Zone during the 16-week polo season, the students — both attending PBAU’s Rinker School of Business — were awarded scholarships by the International Polo Club to travel to Brazil for a 10-day educational business trip this month.
“This program is a win-win. It is so nice to know that the money we spend on the Kids Fun Zone is helping to educate and train future business leaders. This is one of the great things about my job. I get to make decisions daily that help other people,” said John Wash, president of the International Polo Club.
Lewis Thompson, a graduating senior, and Angie Moreau, a junior, netted over $10,850 running the Kids Fun Zone, a service designed to entertain the children of parents who want to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon watching professional polo. The money will be applied to the IPC scholarships funding the business trip.
“Managing the Kids Fun Zone every Sunday for four months was like running a small business for them, and they did a fantastic job in raising money and awareness about the service,” said Dr. Ann Langlois, an associate professor at the Rinker School of Business, who oversees the scholarship program with the International Polo Club.
Langlois explained that each week the students were given a $1,000 budget to entertain the children. They had to contact and book vendors, negotiate contracts, schedule dates, keep the books and troubleshoot problems on the fly — all while staying under budget. The students booked vendors as diverse as a face painting service to pony rides to a science presentation.
Thompson and Moreau also created a marketing program, with flyers distributed to parents every week, in the hope of generating greater awareness about the Kids Fun Zone. The service cost parents only $10 — but it was all profit to the students.
Any profits generated or money saved under budget, the students could keep and apply toward their scholarships. This season, the students created enough profit and savings to cover the full cost of the trip to Brazil, Langlois said.
This is the second year the International Polo Club has offered scholarships to Rinker business students. Last year’s participants used the Kids Fun Zone experience to fund a 10-day trip to Dubai.
“The IPC scholarship program has given our students a chance to run a business, travel abroad and expand their knowledge of international business,” Langlois said. “It’s a great opportunity. The students learn leadership skills that will prove invaluable after college.”
Along with the entertainment, the Kids Fun Zone also featured a bounce house for children age 7 and under, a giant inflatable slide, a huge rock climbing wall, an inflatable obstacle course, spin art and sand art, and a bungee trampoline, as well as food and drinks.
With the successful 10th anniversary season now in the record books, the International Polo Club will shift to the off-season and hosting several global sporting events, including USPA Youth Polo events, as well as summer polo camps, large charity events and fundraisers.
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South, between Pierson Road and Lake Worth Road in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 204-5687 or visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.
ABOVE: Dr. Ann Langlois, student Lewis Thompson and IPC’s John Wash. PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILA PHOTO