by Michael Campbell
Read Today Coordinator, Granger Elementary

I work at Granger elementary school as the Read Today coordinator, so I am lucky enough to spend my day reading with amazing kids, and coordinating volunteers who are interested in doing the same thing.  Whether it is because of this, or simply my personality, I do not spend too much time in the world of business and have not attended many board meetings. In fact, I tend to have a fairly negative perception of them. However, despite my best efforts to be negative at the Junior Achievement Board Meeting, I found myself having a great time. I mean seriously, if all board meetings were this good, I would become a board member as fast as Usain Bolt can run the 100 M!

Our purpose for going to the JA Board meeting was to accompany three amazing Granger 5th graders who had recently been a part of Junior Achievement’s BizTown.  Each of the three students had played an important role during the event; one was the town mayor and two were CEOs.  They had each been invited to speak to JA’s Board about their experience, and show off their public speaking skills.
As soon as we walked in the doors at Rio Tinto Stadium, we were warmly greeted by the staff and directed to the Executive Skybox where the meeting was being held. (Yes RSL fans, the Executive Suite is as nice as you think it is.) The three fifth graders were fairly nervous about speaking in front of some of Utah’s most influential people, but were quickly put at ease by the friendliness of the board members and other guests at the meeting; I think the children were especially impressed with the two members of the US women’s ski jumping team, who will be competing in the 2014 Winter games for the first time!

When it comes to my knowledge of Junior Achievement, I found that in this instance I was not smarter than a fifth grader. The speeches given by the three students were very enlightening and provided a unique perspective into the Junior Achievement program. JA has gone to great lengths (and effectively so) to provide students with a working model of the business world, but also how it related to communities. They teach the children how businesses and communities work together for the betterment of society, and they do so in a real “city” at the gateway mall. The positive attitude and attentiveness of those involved in the program made me genuinely appreciative of their efforts and inspires me to become more involved in the Junior Achievement program!

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Junior Achievement of Utah is working with United Way of Salt Lake as a Strategy Partner. Junior Achievement prepares young people for the real world by showing them how to earn money, create jobs, and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace through programs in Kearns, South Salt Lake, and West Valley City.