Young AmeriTowne On the Road, presented by CoBank, has just returned from its fourth trip to Grand Junction, where this hands-on program in financial literacy reached more students than ever before! In six weeks, 1,081 students ran their own Towne for a day, learning the basics of economics, personal finance, civics, and business.
A highlight of the Grand Junction trip was the day 61 students from Taylor Elementary School ran AmeriTowne. Taylor Elementary is part of Mesa County Valley School District 51 and is located in Palisade, Colorado. Prior to Opening Ceremonies that day, special guest Grand Junction Mayor Pro Tem Bennett Boeschenstein joined a reception that included local supporters, including representatives from Alpine Bank, VectraBank Colorado, US Bank, and Bray Real Estate. When the students from Taylor Elementary arrived, guests and Young Americans Center staff members alike were wowed by their maturity and motivation.
“The students had complete control of the day,” said Chris O’Reilly, Director of AmeriTowne On the Road. “It was clear that they had learned so much, and the kids were motivated to put that learning into action. It was like the traditional role of student and teacher were reversed—I was the one learning and observing and they were the ones facilitating their own day.”
What does this kind of experience do for kids? According to Chris, who has seen thousands of young people run Young AmeriTowne, “When students are engaged in learning like this, they are really facilitating their own learning and their own growth. They are truly absorbed in something that will affect their own future on their own terms. It’s really powerful.”
Teacher Mykenzie Fox was just as impressed. After her students attended Young AmeriTowne, she wrote, “Thank you SO much for taking the time to bring Young AmeriTowne to Grand Junction. Our kiddos absolutely LOVED their time there, and even said it was, ‘Better than Halloween.’ ”