Young Americans Bank is celebrating its 30th year of operation this year! The 30th birthday party, held last August, included a gathering of all staff, a large cake, and the opening of a time capsule from the Bank’s 20th birthday. I just celebrated a 30th birthday myself, which prompted me to reflect on my life to see how far I’ve come. So, when I met a parent volunteer who had known Bill Daniels, the Founder of Young Americans Bank, personally, I thought I’d look back at Young Americans, too, to see how it has grown and changed in the last 30 years.
This volunteer was actually a grandparent of one of the students participating in Young AmeriTowne. As soon as I saw him walk in the door, I could tell that he was ready to witness Bill Daniels’ legacy for the first time. He was dressed just as Bill Daniels probably would have dressed, wearing a full suit and tie that was ironed to perfection and freshly-shined shoes. He worked in the Parts and Service Shop where we squeezed in a brief conversation before the school arrived.
He started by asking if I ever got to meet Bill. No last name, just did I ever get to meet Bill. Unfortunately, I did not meet Bill Daniels personally. He went on to tell me how he had known Bill Daniels for a short amount of time when he was first living in Denver. He was very humble about his connection with Bill and was so happy to see all of Bill’s successes continue long after his death in 2000. He was particularly excited about the opening of a third branch of Young Americans Bank coming soon to Lakewood. The success of the initial bank opened thirty years ago is amplified, especially in the memories of anyone who knew Bill Daniels.
I also shared that I had just visited Cableland, the Denver residence of Bill Daniels which is now owned by the City of Denver. Being able to explore the home he had created in the early 80’s still intact and preserved was pretty amazing. For example, there’s a wall of TV’s Bill used to monitor all of the cable channels he owned. Technology continues to be important to our programs today, something I think Bill Daniels would be proud of. The students use debit cards and an electronic point-of-sale system, and all of the shops pay for their services online. It is pretty awesome that students use modern technology to help them understand the free enterprise system.
As the students started arriving at Young AmeriTowne, our conversation came to an end. On his way out at the end of the day, the volunteer thanked me for a great experience—he was truly impressed. I thanked him for his time and for sharing such wonderful memories of Bill Daniels.
After thirty years, it is safe to say Young Americans has grown exponentially. We are so excited to continue to share Bill Daniels’ legacy every day, in Colorado and beyond.