Just like many other teens his age, 15 year old Harvard-Westlake freshman Luca Pistor has a summer job lined up for after the school year ends. But Pistor won’t be lifeguarding or waiting tables. Instead, he will be hosting another installment of the Junior Social Entrepreneurs Summit (JSES), a program he founded in 2012.
“I would say the most valuable skill that you can gain from JSES is students can learn to create the changes that need to be made in their community,” Pistor said. “They learn what they need to do to make those changes happen.”
Since its inception, Pistor has held multiple JSES camps in both Santa Monica and Berlin. This year’s Santa Monica summer camp – held at the Annenberg Community Beach House – will run from June 20 – 24. The program takes applicants 11 to 17 years old.
“Santa Monica is a great location for the camp as the beach is so close and gives us a great environment to work in. There are also so many start ups in Santa Monica that we can learn from.”
The setting of the city also lines up with the focus of this year’s camp: sustainability. The camp is committed to “green goals” (like much of the city of Santa Monica), will have a plastic-free campus and students will be taking the new Expo line to the University of Southern California for some programming events at USC’s Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (a sponsor of the program since 2014). The camp also has a strong tie to the university through their mentor, Dr. Elissa Grossman, a USC associate professor in social entrepreneurship.
Speakers lined up for this year’s camp include: Ed Begley Jr., actor/eco-activist; Ken Budd, author of “The Voluntourist”; Dianna Cohen, cofounder of Plastic Pollution Coalition; Sebastian Copeland, environmentalist, author of “Arctica, The Vanishing North”; David Dressler, co-founder of Tender Greens; and Dr. Karol Watson, UCLA cardiologist and mentor for JSES’ Teen Heart-health Initiative.
Students will be travelling around Santa Monica on field trips to InVenture, Tender Greens and WeWork.
Tuition for JSES is $450 including lunches, and scholarships are available to students. So far the camp has 14 students signed up for the summer and has room for a total of 25.
Pistor said the next step for JSES is JSES XI’AN 2017, a program being developed by JSES alumnus Jacob Tamkin and JSES ambassador Scott Tamkin who are Mandarin-language students traveling to China this summer.
And as for what the young entrepreneur is planning for his own future, he says JSES is taking up most of his focus at the moment.
“So far I’m interested in continuing JSES. I want it to grow with me and I want to reach the largest amount of students that I can through the program.”
For more information on JSES and to apply for the program, go to http://www.jsesinternational.com/.