BALTIMORE -- Megan Leef, 12, and her fellow campers have no interest in arts and crafts. The action on the Big Board is more to their liking.

The 40 youngsters at the Money Management Camp for Young People at Loyola College are not necessarily junior tycoons. They are spending the week away from home to learn about earning money, saving it and spending it wisely.

They had barely said goodbye to their parents one recent Monday morning when the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 100 points in 90 minutes as they watched the action at a brokerage house.

"This was a bad day for the market," said Megan, who will be in eighth grade at Westland Intermediate School in Bethesda in the fall. "One thing I asked the stockbroker was if you placed an order and it was a great buyers' market and it took a while to find a seller and the market went down, could you specify that you wanted to sell for over $120 a share?"

For the campers, games and swimming took a back seat to sessions on ethics, entrepreneurship, checking accounts and credit cards. A session on buying car insurance was a topic close to their hearts.

Most of the campers know one thing about money -- they don't have much of it.

"I wanted to learn how to manage money because there's a great need to know the value of money when you have money, and not just throw it away," said 13-year-old Jeffrey Barzyk, who will attend eighth grade at Loyola Blakefield High School in Baltimore County this fall.

"I like what I already know about money. When I am a teenager, I'll be able to manage money instead of wasting it. I already wasted it today. I bought a New Kids on the Block key chain," said Megan.

"I have a bank account and I watch my interest earnings, but not too much exciting happens in a bank account. You get maybe $1.35 in interest," she said.

Therese Steen, assistant director of continuing education in the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola, is the head counselor.

"There is a great need for business education even for this age group, and this can be a fun aspect of their education," Steen said. "This is a subject that interests them a lot. We have a kid here who works as a clerk at her church's thrift shop; one owns stock, another earned part of the money for camp.

"Compound interest, what is a security, the difference between being smart and being an inside trader ... There is a great concern about the misuse of credit in our society," Steen said. "They will learn that credit helps businesses and new homeowners, if you don't abuse it."

Campers are students from the Baltimore-Washington area and Philadelphia who are ahead of their peers in math or English. A Baltimore program paid the $325 fee for 11 campers who attend school in the inner city.

"If some of these kids go on to college, I'll feel we've come full circle," Steen said.

"This is the first I've heard of a camp of that nature for that age group," said Doug Barber, executive vice president of Future Business Leaders of America, a Washington-based organization for high school and college students. "Our programs are pretty much on self-development and getting ready for business careers -- public speaking, image, organizational skills."

Jim Stone, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a researcher in a national study that looks at how schools relate class work to the world of work, says teenagers are at a crucial age for exposure to career options.

"There are schools that do this kind of thing as part of their regular programming, but the number of kids that actually participate is really small," Stone said. "The summer camp idea is a little different, but exciting.

"Even though it's only a one-week shot, it offers the opportunity to become more aware than what they would normally see in the course of a {school} day."