North Wellington Youth Spotlight:Youth turns ballooning talent into local business venture

North Wellington Youth Spotlight focuses on positive stories about young people in local communities. The features are provided by Erin Raftis, municipal youth intern for Minto, Mapleton, and Wellington North – #positivityFromYouthForYouth.

MINTO – Garrett Schouten, a 10-year-old youth from Clifford, is among 40 youths in the Saugeen Student Start-Up Program (SSUP), which provides funding to young entrepreneurs to help them start their own businesses this summer.

This budding businessman is a balloon twister – “not a clown” for his startup “Chuckles’ Balloons.”

Schouten explains that he “can be hired for events and people can buy [his] balloon creations through [his] Facebook page.”

His mother helps him run the page and she was also the inspiration for the youth to start selling his balloon creations because she said “they were awesome and [he] needed an audience.”

This job opportunity has provided the entrepreneur with new connections in his community, as he attends local events, and has been hired by local businesses, as well as the Town of Minto.

He has also spent his time and balloons volunteering at nursing homes and kids day camps. He states that “it’s important to give back to my community.

“Recently I have donated 20 new stuffed animals to two local hospital ER’s for patients who need a cuddly buddy.”

Not only has his business provided him a network, he is also learning a lot about how to run a business, which includes both the technological side, such as upkeep of his Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as learning about customer services and finances.

In the future, Garrett intends to “continue to do [his] best at school” because he loves school, as well as continuing to run Chuckles’ Balloons by attending more events.

He would like to start a merchandise line to sell items with his “slogan and punny phrases” including reusable book bags, T-shirts, and more. He aspires to “learn to entertain with a half-hour show” which would include “music, magic, riddles, and jokes, and of course balloons!”

Schouten is “excited that [his] Facebook page is growing.” He has recently included a new item called “Balloon Candy Cups” for five dollars each. He urges everyone to check out his page because he is practicing “balloon art every day and [is] always learning new twists.”

Contact Garrett through his Facebook page @chucklesballoonart, or on instagram @chucklesballoons_. You can message him about an event or to place an order. Balloon pickups are available in Clifford or through local delivery for a small fee.

Erin Raftis