Young AmeriTowne is a place where 4th and 5th graders get to learn about economics and business in a fun and way. Sadly, many schools out of the Denver area like schools in Pueblo or Fort Collins either don’t have the money or the transportation to get there. Young AmeriTowne mission is to get as many students to experience their program, for this reason the staff at Young AmeriTowne have created a mobile version of the Towne. Although AmeriTowne has been around for many years, this is a new concept.
AmeriTowne mainly focuses in helping students learn about finances. Instead of having students in a classroom hitting the books, they get to learn in a fun, hands-on way. Since I was a fifth grader last year, I got to experience this too. The way my school did it was that they first taught us all the financial and business lessons to prepare us for the whole day at AmeriTowne.
When we are taught the AmeriTowne curriculum, we learn the real life experience, such as applying to a job, working shifts, and managing your money in a “town atmosphere”. The primary goal of the program are to learn the work ethics and financial responsibility. Is it wise to spend more than you earn? We were taught to budget your money so that at the end of the day we didn’t end up with negative numbers! There are a variety of jobs you can apply to. I was lucky enough to get the job I had applied to which was the Newspaper Manager.
Not only does AmeriTowne teach you about a finances but teaches you about the government. An example of this is how a mayor is elected and laws are created. All the citizens in AmeriTowne must obey these laws or else they will have some “serious consequences”. Police officers make sure that citizens are following these laws.
Business are very important feature for this program. The mobile version of AmeriTowne offers their most popular businesses, which include, The Bank, The Newspaper, The TV Station, The Container Shop, The Medics, The Radio Station, and The Snack Shop. The shops earn their money by selling goodies to the fellow town citizens.
Janet Redwine, the Communications Director, believes that students should be able to see and experience this physically. Not only does this program allow students to learn about different types of jobs, but it also teaches them the value of teamwork. The role of this “portable” AmeriTowne is to let students in other far away schools participate in this fun curriculum. What is great about their new program is that smaller groups of kids can come, 25 to 30 students. “A great example is after school programs, we offer a curriculum for small groups of students to come in and enjoy this learning experience.” says Janet. Another problems is that schools sometimes struggle to find the money for this. “Schools usually fundraise…” states Janet. Young AmeriTowne also provides a scholarship program for older students and/or schools.
My school was fortunate enough to attend the facilities of AmeriTowne and it was an experience that gave me a taste of the adult world. With this new version of Young AmeriTowne, more students will now have access to this interactive program without leaving their school.