August 3rd, 1987 Young Americans Bank became the first and only bank of its kind, one that caters to a very specific clientele of kids ages 0 to 21. This year Young Americans will be turning 27 and over the years a lot has changed, not only at Young Americans but in society as well. This got me interested in seeing what our country was like at various milestones in Young Americans 27 years.
The bank begins
Let’s start with August 3rd, 1987. This was the day Young Americans Bank opened its doors. Over the course of the first three weeks, Young Americans had 2,000 accounts opened and was receiving media coverage from around the world. But what else was going on? Well, the number one single on Billboard Hot 100 was “Shakedown” by Bob Seger. This song came in 9th for the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1987, behind hits like Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles and Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. 1987 also featured films like “Dirty Dancing” and “3 Men and a Baby,” many homes were watching The Cosby Show and a gallon of gas only cost 89 cents.
Celebrating 10 years
We will not jump to August 1997, when Young Americans celebrated its 10th birthday. Young Americans Bank celebrated its 10th birthday with a “YABarade” winding through the streets of Cherry Creek North. The bank had reached over 36,000 customers from every state plus a dozen foreign countries. By this point, Young AmeriTowne began its full year, school-based program for fifth graders and International Towne had just launched as a weeklong summer day-camp for middle school students. What else was going on in 1997 you ask? Well, Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company valued at $261 billion dollars. The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published and started quite possibly the most successful book series of all-time. “Men in Black” was the top grossing film of 1997, but a late-year release of “Titanic” is the iconic film of the year. Titanic went on to become the 2nd highest grossing film in box-office history.
A big move
August 3rd, 2002 was not only Young Americans 15th birthday, but also the Grand Opening Celebration of the Young Americans Center for Financial Education headquarters we have today. New additions in this facility include a year round International Towne, an educational Resource Center and expanded classrooms. Let’s see what else was happening around the country. The go-to summer jam that year was “Hot in Herre” by Nelly, a song I vividly remember jamming to the summer before 4th grade. American Idol had its debut season in 2002 and went on to be one of the most viewed TV shows of the 2000s. 2002 was also the year of the blockbuster film, featuring the likes of “Spiderman,” “Lord of the Rings: The Two Tower,” and “Star Wars Episode II.”
Let’s jump ahead 10 years to August 2012, when Young Americans turned 25. We celebrated with a large carnival, closing down the street. The event had nearly 3,000 guests and more than $1,800 in coins and cash was given away. Over the course of the previous 10 years, Rural AmeriTowne was launched in Wray, CO, Young Americans new facility in Belmar was opened, and our Young Entrepreneurship program was in full swing. Most importantly, Young Americans had reached its 500,000th participant through the Bank and various Center programs. What else was happening in 2012? Adele won big at the Grammy awards, walking away with six trophies, including awards for album and song of the year. 2012 also brought us the first iPad, Peyton Manning, the long-time Indianapolis Colt, left for the Mile High city, and Michael Phelps made history at the London Olympics as he claimed his record 22nd medal.
That brings us to this year, where Young Americans turns 27. So far this year, “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and “Lego Movie” have been the big box office hits and we’ve gotten “Fancy” with Iggy Azalea. We also saw our U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team survive the FIFA World Cup “group of death,” finishing second in the group to only Germany, the eventual World Cup victors. What else is to come this year for Young Americans? Well, in its 27th birthday year, Young Americans adds its newest initiative, Young AmeriTowne On the Road. Young AmeriTowne On the Road will bring a real-life economic experience to 5th graders across the state of Colorado using a mobile-version of the Young AmeriTowne we’ve all come to love.
It’s clear to see that times have really changed over the lifespan of Young Americans. From music, to movies, to sports, it is really hard to expect what is coming next. One thing that has stayed consistent though is Young Americans dedication to educating the youth and encouraging financial literacy among children and young adults. Evolving from a bank, to a full fledge non-profit, to enhancing the childhood memories of so many with programs like Young AmeriTowne, and now its newest addition of Young AmeriTowne On the Road. What will come next? It’s hard to say, but I can’t wait to see what Young Americans does in its coming years.