Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta celebrating 50th anniversary

When Gregg Broks was in high school, he and some entrepreneurial-minded classmates got their hands on a “Slurpee” machine and started selling the icy drinks at their school.

Gregg Broks

Gregg Broks

When Gregg Broks was in high school, he and some entrepreneurial-minded classmates got their hands on a “Slurpee” machine and started selling the icy drinks at their school.

Broks attributes that venture, and his subsequent interest in business, to his involvement in Junior Achievement.

“I definitely have more of an entrepreneurial spirit than most of my companions that didn’t do it,” said Broks, development manager of Melcor Developments Ltd.’s land division in Red Deer.

Terri-Lynn Johannesson tells a similar story. The banking floor manager at Rocky Credit Union describes the lasting impact Junior Achievement has had on her since she participated in the program as a young girl.

“I always remembered it.”

Broks and Johannesson are now volunteers with Junior Achievement: teaching students lessons they hope will last a lifetime.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta is based in Calgary but has eight regional offices — including one in Red Deer.

“What we do is provide financial literacy and entrepreneurial programs to school-age kids, for free,” said Linda Sietzema, regional co-ordinator for Central Alberta.

Programming is available for students from Grade 4 to Grade 12, including business basics, financial literacy and financial planning. Older youths can develop and operate their own businesses.

But the lessons extend much further.

John MacKenzie, who is a Red Deer-based business coach, has been conducting a Junior Achievement program on the economics of staying in school.

He guides students through newspaper ads so they can calculate the cost of living away from home and the income they’re likely to earn with their education and skills.

“They’re shocked,” said MacKenzie.

“It basically teaches kids to stay in school and it teaches them about what they want to get out of life.”

Doreen Belliveau, director of marketing with Red Deer-based Chatters Canada Ltd., has led students through the same exercise. Such practical lessons, she said, resonates with youngsters accustomed to the traditional classroom curriculum.

“Kids are always wanting to know, ‘How’s this going to matter to me in my real life, outside of the walls of school, or when I’m finished school?’ This is what Junior Achievement offers.”

Johannesson also feels that her classroom time is favourably received.

“The kids enjoyed having someone else come in. It was fun for them.”

She and Broks have been teaching business basics. In Broks’s case, that’s covered everything from how to rent facilitie to how to shake hands.

“Teaching kids that fundamental entrepreneurial spirit,” he sums up.

During the last school year, said Sietzema, 68 Junior Achievement classes were conducted in Central Alberta, with more than 1,600 students and 105 volunteers involved.

This training stimulates entrepreneurial appetites but also produces other benefits, she said.

“I think the leadership skills that they gain, and the business skills — whether you become an entrepreneur or not — you’re going to take those with you.”

“It’s a very important link in the chain of rounding these kids,” agreed MacKenzie.

“You’re helping to shape the future leaders,” added Belliveau.

Sietzema said Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta is always looking for volunteers, and a strong business background isn’t necessary. The typical commitment is four hours of class time, with instuctor training running about one to 1 1/2 hours, and class preparation time varying from instructor to instructor.

Johannesson believes the time is well worth it.

“I think any kind of involvement and encouragement that you can give to kids is always a positive thing.”

Additional information about Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta can be found online at www.jasouthalberta.org.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels winger Arshdeep Bains had two assists in the first period Monday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action in Lethbridge. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Hurricanes hand Red Deer Rebels ninth straight loss

Hurricanes 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Hurricanes 8 Rebels 5 (Monday) The goals… Continue reading

Red Deer City Hall. (File photo)
Red Deerians will see a slight tax increase, but the municipal portion is at zero per cent

The provincial educational requisition went up by about half a per cent

The length of grass on people’s lawns could be part of the new Community Standards bylaw being considered by Red Deer city council. (Black Press file photo).
Loitering, noise complaints, swearing covered in proposed bylaw

A few old rules could be dropped and new rules added

Sweden skip Niklas Edin makes a shot against Scotland in the Men's World Curling Championship gold medal final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Curling's Humpty's Champions Cup in Calgary has been pushed back a day due to the delayed finish of the men's world championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Start of Humpty’s Champions Cup pushed back a day in Calgary

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

Men’s world curling championship in Calgary concludes amid COVID scare

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Higashioka and Cole help Yankees beat Blue Jays 3-1

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

Alberta doctors say trust must be rebuilt after proposed new labour deal rejected

People line up in the rain for a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the Masjid Darus Salaam in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Provinces defend health restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Alberta legislature Speaker apologizes for condemning new COVID health restrictions

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Ukraine’s leader requests a talk with Putin, gets no answer

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

Most Read