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MATTOON — Youths ages 11–15 who are creative, curious and interested in earning money this summer are invited to enroll in Camp Start-up, an entrepreneurship day camp and business pitch competition.
Camp Start-up will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. June 27-30, at Elevate, Cross County Innovation Center in Mattoon. Camp director Jeanne Dau of Dau Consulting reported that campers will learn what they need to start up, market and run their own business or start a business with friends.
Local entrepreneurs and Coles County ClassE high school entrepreneur program alumni will mentor them and their friends to get their venture started.
Class Start-up participants will learn how to turn an idea or their passion into a money-making adventure; explore starting a business while having fun with scavenger hunts, guest speakers, tours, games and video/ad creation; participate in the “Think Big” Olympics; learn how to make logos and social media posts; and have a chance at winning $50 that will awarded for the best business pitch.
“Camp Start-up was one of my favorite camps I’ve ever been to. All of the staff were super kind and helpful,” said Chaya Haslett, a participant in the 2021 Camp Start-up. “The games they played were all so fun and I would definitely recommend Camp Start-up for any young entrepreneur who wants to start a business like me.”
The fee is $149 per camper. Ten full scholarships are available to Charleston Middle School students thanks to a Consolidated Communication Endowment for Economic Development and Community Leadership grant. Other partial scholarships are available.
Prospective participants can learn more and register online at More information is also available by contacting Dau at 217-549-2564.
From the Nov. 22, 1992, Journal Gazette, this photo of Cosmic Blue Comics in Mattoon; where I spent virtually every Saturday afternoon for about two years. That small back room you see just off to the right of the Coca-Cola sign was where they kept the many, and I mean many, long-boxes of back issues. I still own my bagged copy of “Tales of the Beanworld” issue No. 1 that I found back there. Sadly, this location is now just a “greenspace”.
Pictured, Shelbyville’s Bob Murray from the June 2, 1982, Journal Gazette, displaying his dominance over the TRON arcade game at the “Carousel Time” arcade at the Cross County Mall, later to be the Aladdin’s Castle, soon thereafter to be not a thing anymore. I spent just about every Saturday at that arcade, perhaps with that exact same haircut. No overalls, though. I was more of an “Ocean Pacific” kind of kid.
Pictured, from the Nov. 28, 1988, Journal Gazette, Icenogle’s grocery store. Being from Cooks Mills, we didn’t often shop at Icenogle’s…but when we did, even as a kid, I knew it was the way a grocery store is supposed to be in a perfect world, and that’s not just because they had wood floors, comic books on the magazine rack, or plenty, and I mean plenty, of trading cards in wax packs.
I had long since moved away from Cooks Mills by the time this Showcase item about Adam’s Groceries ran in the June 13, 1998, Journal Gazette, but there was a time when I very well could have been one of those kids in that photo; for if it was summer, and you had a bike, and you lived in Cooks Mills, that’s where you ended up. At last report, they still had Tab in the Pepsi-branded cooler in the back. I’m seriously considering asking my money guy if I could afford to reopen this place.
Pictured, from the July 16, 1987, Journal Gazette, this ad for Mister Music, formerly located in the Cross County Mall. I wasn’t buying records at that age, but I would eventually, and that’s where it all went down. If you don’t think it sounds “cool” to hang out at a record store with your buddies on a Friday night, a piping-hot driver’s license fresh in your wallet, you’d be right. But it’s the best a geek like me could do. Wherever you are today, owners of Mister Music, please know that a Minutemen album I found in your cheap bin changed my life.
Portrait of the author as a young man, about to throw a guitar through a target at that year’s Sound Source Music Guitar Throwing Contest, from the April 18, 1994, Journal Gazette. Check out my grunge-era hoodie, and yes…look carefully, those are Air Jordans you see on my feet. Addendum: despite what the cutline says, I did not win a guitar.
Pictured, clipped from the online archives at, a photo from the April 18, 1994, Journal Gazette of Sound Source Music Guitar Throwing Contest winner, and current JG-TC staff writer, Clint Walker.
Here today, gone tomorrow, Vette’s Teen Club, from the June 20, 1991, Journal Gazette. I wasn’t “cool” enough to hang out at Vette’s back in it’s “heyday,” and by “cool enough” I mean, “not proficient enough in parking lot fights.” If only I could get a crack at it now.
FutureGen: The end of the beginning, and eventually, the beginning of the end, from the Dec. 19, 2007, JG-TC. I wish I had been paying more attention at the time. I probably should have been reading the newspaper.
Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.
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