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On Lemonade Day in Shishmaref, No Summer Heat — But Plenty of Summer Treats

Lemonade Day in Shishmaref
Bella Ahgupuk and her mother Irene at their lemonade stand in Shishmaref. Photo: Lauren Frost, KNOM.

Founded in 2007, Lemonade Day is a national program that aims to teach children about operating a business. This past Saturday, kids sold lemonade in communities across Alaska, including the coastal village of Shishmaref.

It was a foggy and cold day in Shishmaref, so Irene Ahgupuk and her daughter Bella were selling lemonade in their parkas.

“So far, we made over $20, and we’ve been open for a few minutes now,” said Irene.

Bella’s lemonade stand was one of four surrounding the city office. She was selling more than lemonade this afternoon. She ordered a few things online that aren’t usually available at the store in Shishmaref.

“Roses, lollipops,” said Bella.

“Some Pop Rocks, lollipops, and she also got some glow sticks,” Irene added.

Bella was also selling homemade cookies.

“Yeah, my mom helped me bake some of them,” she said.

When children register for Lemonade Day, they receive an entrepreneur workbook containing fourteen lessons about business. Irene said participating in Lemonade Day for the past five years has taught her daughter about counting money and determining prices.

“This helps her with the money, and [making] the change,” said Irene. “And she’s been doing this while she was young, so it helps her with learning about how much [things cost], and how much to price them, too.”

Bella also gets to keep the money she earns. And she puts it to good use.

“We usually do all the proceeds going to her baby brother, Alex, who’s in Anchorage, and he’s at a foster home,” said Irene. “But this year, since the air fares are so high, we’re gonna do this for her trip to Bible camp in Nome.”

With the way business had been going so far, it looked to be a profitable day.

“I’ll even throw in a tip!” said a customer.

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Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.