Kids run their own city in financial summer camp

DENVER, Colo. - When it comes to summer camp, we tend to picture kids going on hikes, canoing, and sleeping in cabins. But one summer camp is doing just the opposite. It's putting kids in charge of their own money, careers, and even city.

There's a hospital, a TV station, an auto shop and a restaurant. But what makes this town different from any other, is that everyone here is under the age of 10. Welcome to Young AmeriTowne, USA.

At town hall, you'll find the mayor and judge trying to keep the town in order. The judge listens to their stories before handing down a verdict.

Morgan Eichenberger is transporting the city's sick back to the hospital where she works.

"Please fill out your name, the place of employment and your signature and the date and this is your diagnosis card," Eichenberger instructs. "Let's go."

And at the town snack shop, Devra Caplan is not only making sure all her customers have what they need, but that their business is making a profit.

"We got a lot of money," Caplan says. "Look how much money we got it's bulging."

That's the goal, not just playing pretend. This is a summer camp where campers learn all about money.

"Young AmeriTowne is a hands-on program that allows kids to practice having a job for the first time, learning words about finance, budgeting," says Assistant Camp Director Michelle Macy.

Macy says in the week-long camp they focus on their personal and business budgets. She says it makes them think about what they'd like to do in the future, and gives some perspective on mom and dad when they head back home.

Macy recalls, "My favorite line ever was from an accountant at the end of the day who said, 'Gosh I can only imagine going home and making dinner right now.'"

Eichenberger isn't sure her future is in a hospital.

"I really want to be an interior designer or a teacher," Eichenberger says.

Still, she's enjoying her present in Young AmeriTown, USA.

 
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