Summer Camps: Biztown offers real-world career simulations


Junior Achievement of Central Indiana Biztown summer camp immerses kids in simulated real-world job and life experiences within a manufactured adolescent size setting.  The Junior Achievement organization aims to provide young people with work readiness knowledge and entrepreneurship skills that prepare them for adulthood.

The camp is offered three different weeks from June 3 to June 28 in Indianapolis. Biztown is part of a year-round partnership with local schools. Students who have experienced Biztown for only a few hours on a class trip can immerse themselves for an entire week.

JA collaborates with community businesses that sponsor storefronts incorporated into the Biztown setting. During the weeklong program, students are assigned occupations related to those businesses. Positions can range from C-suite to other managerial levels.  The organization works with team members from sponsor companies to create age-appropriate learning tasks and assignments based on real-life situations.

“They get assigned a job, they have a salary, they have to deposit checks, they can vote, open retirement accounts, send letters and learn how to mail things and all these realistic adult functions that they will learn after school or that they’ll have to do after they graduate and become adults,” said Mariah Maier, marketing and communications manager for JA Indy.

Occupations include Republic Airways flight attendants, Eli Lilly and Co. pharmacists and DJ for radio Disney. In addition, students may be tasked to create vision boards, write business plans and create advertising jingles.

The program incorporates cross pollination with the Biztown community using real-world professional interactions, such as getting signatures on documents; checking utilities as a field technician; doing health checks for Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent; or working as a teller for Huntington Bank.

“The simulation is very similar to what we would do as adults in our professional life,” Maier said.

Staff are stationed throughout the town to monitor kids and provide help and guidance, while empowering them to embrace the position.   

The program is for ages 8 through 13 and registration for Biztown summer camp is capped at 252 attendees per week.  Regular camp session runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers extended care times for an additional fee.  Kids will need to bring their own lunch and snacks.

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