The Babysitters Club: An Economic Catalyst for Teens
Growing up in the ‘90s, I was obsessed with Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitters Club series. The books so glamorized the babysitting profession that my friends and I decided to start an agency of our own. Though our clientele consisted primarily of our parents, this business venture allowed us to flex our pseudo-entrepreneurial muscles, however undeveloped they may have been. We spent hours devising a business plan of sorts — planning how to split our earnings, how to market ourselves, and what our membership rules would be. Though I got to experience The Babysitters Club at the height of its popularity, the beloved series is being revamped and rereleased on April 1 (today!) to delight, and perhaps inspire, a new generation of readers.
In a recent opinion piece, Laura Vanderkram of the Wall Street Journal voices her affection for the books and her hope that the characters’ business savvy motivates young readers to create their own job opportunities, particularly in an economy that doesn’t exactly embrace teenagers. Vanderkram writes: “What this very entrepreneurial girl discovers is that when you can’t get a job through the usual channels, you can create your own. Kristy and her friends saw an inefficiency in the market: frustrated parents who had to make five phone calls just to leave the house, and potential sitters missing out on gigs because of limited contacts. So they solved it with their club, and kept themselves gainfully employed all through middle school.”
While the girls of The Babysitters Club emerge as heroines for the elementary school set, adults could stand to follow their lead as well. As a kid, the series moved my friends and me to build, or at least attempt to build, our own business. Now, as an adult who has just entered the professional realm, I realize just how much I took away from my favorite childhood books: lessons in responsibility, teamwork and the importance of taking charge of my own economic destiny.
Posted by Abby