Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Junior Achievement director and school coordianator Ron Hansen talks about real-world problems to consider for North Star Academy eighth-graders putting together a family budget in a hands-on lesson in personal finance on Monday, April 29.
Scenarios, field trips teach Utah students financial reality of adulthood
Learning » Activities cap month of efforts to put world of money top of mind.
First Published May 03 2013 07:20 am • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:31 pm

During a role-playing exercise, 13-year-old Becca Rossiter learned she was assigned to be a married military officer earning just $1,580 a month.

"I looked at [my income] and I’m like, ‘Crap,’ because I’m going to have to budget a ton," Rossiter said. "The hardest part is budgeting."

At a glance

To learn more

Junior Achievement » Go to http://ja-utah.org/programs/

Reality Town » Go to http://www.realitytown.com/

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The eighth-grader was one of 60 students from North Star Academy in Bluffdale who recently participated in a personal finance workshop sponsored by Junior Achievement, an organization dedicated to teaching students about the world of money.

Making budgeting fun and starting a discussion about life’s fiscal realities are the goals for Utah’s organized financial literacy efforts.

Nearly 10,000 students this year attended a budgeting bootcamp at JA City, an elaborate mini-Main Street nestled on the fourth floor above the Discovery Gateway children’s museum. More than 300 members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Valley spent this school year taking field trips, participating in a teen investment program and engaging in an interactive "Reality Town" exercise.

The hands-on activities and detailed budgeting scenarios are all designed to get young people thinking about their financial futures, said Christy Tribe, executive vice president and chief development officer of Junior Achievement of Utah.

"We help students understand why they’re learning what they’re learning," Tribe said. "There’s a relevancy."

Liz Kinne, development director at Boys & Girls Clubs of South Valley, said the activities help prepare students for Utah’s required high school financial literacy course. After learning how to create a budget and save for college, 30 percent of students in Boys & Girls Club’s Money Matters program showed improvement on financial literacy tests given after the exercises.

"We’re working hard to make sure they’re prepared when they go into the real world," she said.

Students participating in the JA exercise prepare in the classroom for four weeks, learning about balancing checkbooks and calculating interest rates. Still, North Star Academy math teacher Doris Haslem said the day-long activity at JA City is an eye-opener.

story continues below
story continues below

"This one boy said to me [about his scenario], ‘I’m poor, I can’t even buy my sack lunch.’ I told him, ‘Welcome to my world,’ " Haslem said. "This will really give them a taste for what life is all about and maybe it will motivate them to pursue a better career or take education more seriously."

North Star student Rossiter certainly felt the squeeze when she was working on her budget worksheet.

"I had to cut out home improvements and furniture and cable and entertainment," Rossiter said. "It gives you a sense of what life is like."


Twitter: @jnpearce

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.