Here's the scoop
It's more than just making ice cream for Inza R. Wood Middle School's Junior Scoop volunteers, it's about giving back to the school and the community. This year, the nonprofit business looks to expand and use some of its proceeds to help fund more reliable bikes for the wellness program. Other proceeds will continue to go toward places like Doernbecher's Children's Hospital and Wood's sports programs.
"In the past we've gotten a bunch of bikes and it's been great, but the bikes, they break down," said Jordan Scoggins, founder and adviser of Junior Scoop. "One of the ideas we had was that we could buy some bikes that are in better shape for our biking program. Sometimes we'll be a few miles away and if their bike breaks down, it's hard, they'll have
to walk it back. We just need some more reliable bikes."
Junior Scoop is a group of entrepreneurial students who use ice cream sales to learn various aspects of running a business — design, marketing and producing the product, to name a few. Junior Scoop, which students have to apply for, is split into three shifts of different students for two hours outside of school. There are also students who run the ice cream pick-up every Thursday from 4-6 p.m. where people who have a membership can pick up their weekly pint or quart.
But the success that follows this business is nothing new. It all started about seven years ago during a mixed grade class period at the beginning of the day to provide all grades of students with a chance to co-mingle and learn. Teachers could choose their subject, so naturally wellness teacher Scoggins wanted students to learn how to make ice cream.
Last year, Junior Scoop was chosen by Portland State University as one of three small companies in Oregon to be part of their business capstone class where Junior Scoop applied to work with a group of business students who helped develop their company more. Scoggins said Wood students learned a lot about writing a business plan and sourcing materials.
"The most important thing they're getting from it — they're 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds — they are so used to other people taking care of them; they've been taken care of in all sorts of situations," Scoggins said. "This is real life. It's a real company. When they make a mistake it hurts the company, when they do something successful it really helps the company. So for the first time for most of these kids in their lives, the decisions they make on a daily basis count."
The students involved are already seeing the benefits.
Eighth-grader Halle is one of the ice cream makers and helps out at events, and is in her second year of being a part of Junior Scoop.
"I love to cook. I love to be in the kitchen," Halle said. "(Junior Scoop) gives us something to work for and it makes us better as students, as learners, as people. We get adult life skills we can use in real life."
Aside from marketing and making the product, students have already gone out into the world with their unique ice cream flavors. They've sold ice cream at numerous public and corporate events. They've been to events like wine tastings, Sunday Parkway in Portland, Concerts in the Park and the West Linn Old Time Fair. Last year, they managed to be at about 30 events and this year Scoggins said they want to bump it up to 50.
A big push for them this year is also with pick-up memberships. Two years ago they had 75, last year it went up to 220 and this year Scoggins said he wants to double it. And with their new ice cream machine purchased last year, they have the equipment to handle it. But one issue, Scoggins said, could be with space.
"If you look carefully, you'll see boxes on top of boxes and stuff piled on top of stuff," Scoggins said. "As we see more expansion, as we see more memberships and that need (for more space), it will push us harder to open up a possible store front."
Scoggins said, as of now, he has his eye on a 4,000-square-foot commercial building in Wilsonville.
"The dream with that space is basically divide it in half and have half of it for Junior Scoop and then the other half (would) become a kitchen that schools in the area can actually use to learn how to cook — which is a skill that is being lost by our society," Scoggins said.