I went on a field trip with Kira's class yesterday to Junior Achievement's Biztown. It is a place where classes who have been studying basic economics can go and pretend to have their own town with their own economy for a day. The building was set up like a little downtown with 14 businesses. Each business got a loan from the bank and had the day to run the place and try to be successful enough to pay off their loan. It was so adorable, I almost died. I was the adult volunteer assigned to the newspaper, the Biztown Buzz. We had a CEO, a CFO, some ad executives, some reporters, some photographers, and an editor. They started the day with a big meeting in the town square:
Here they outlined what the businesses were and what each business would be doing. There was a grocery store, a cafe, a bank, two stores, a post office, town hall, a wellness center, a radio station and a construction company, to name a few. They were all so adorable. The postal workers wore post office uniform shirts and had big sacs and delivered letters that the kids wrote a few weeks ago to each other. The construction workers had vests and hardhats and built a bench in the town square. The adorable mayor walked around town in his little tie, glad-handing all day, and one of the kids even brought a briefcase.
In our business we had to run the paper, and at the end of the day we actually produced a town paper. We had to write up the paper, sell ads, take pictures, and the CEO and CFO had to deal with payroll and paying bills. Because we had a fantastic editor, our paper was a success, although at the end of the day we discovered we hadn't made enough to pay off the loan. Oh well, newspapers are dying all over the place. Everyone knows that. Just add Biztown Buzz to the list.
What did I learn? I learned that even though eleven-year-olds can run around and look really busy and impressive, DON'T LET THEM RUN YOUR BUSINESS. They will drive it into the ground. At one point I had to retrieve our CFO from hula hooping in the town square so she could make her bank deposits. And the CEO was way more concerned about sending candy grams to her pals than signing paychecks.