Timber Trail students go to Towne
Timber Trail Elementary fifth grade students stepped out of the classroom and into Young AmeriTowne (YA) where they played roles of adults managing careers, earning salaries and balancing budgets. The revered annual field trip to YA’s facility in downtown Denver allows the children to run a town for a day and is a fun yet practical way for them to learn life skills.
Prior to the trip, students prepared with classroom lessons in economics, banking, money management, investments, ethics and philanthropy. Interviews were conducted for jobs ranging from service technician, banker, salesperson, manager, and police officer, all of whom earned wages to buy goods and services. Even a mayor and judge were elected and sworn into the town council.
At YA, the lifelike facility is comprised of 16 businesses to include a town hall. The students encountered life-like scenarios, learning the impact their actions and decisions had on themselves, businesses and their town.
Eleanor Gentile enjoyed the day working, banking and shopping. “Young AmeriTowne was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and was such a fun way to learn how to be an adult,” she said.
Connor Enquist, who played the role of mayor, said it was exciting but also difficult at times. “It is a lot more work than you would think it would be but the work was enjoyable,” said Enquist. The hardest part of being mayor was writing his opening ceremony speech, he added. “It was very nerve-racking, but once I started talking, I felt more comfortable because no one judged me.”
YA began in Denver in 1990 and today reaches more than 30,000 students each year, accommodating groups of 40-80 children per visit. Teachers are given a curriculum that takes between six to eight weeks to prepare the students for YA. There are facilities in Denver and Belmar and a portable YA program for rural areas.
By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Kristen Ward Brown