Big Brothers Big Sisters Happenings and Event Recaps

Indie Author Day and Oktoberfest at OCC

At the first Indie Author Day held at the Owatonna Public Library, I had a great chat with the library patrons who attended even though I didn’t sell any books.

For the Owatonna Country Club Oktoberfest, I enjoyed and savored a wonderful beer-tasting dinner at OCC featuring Castle Danger Brewery beers. I also spoke for a few minutes about all things Castle Danger and ended up selling eleven books. Best of all, I received several extra donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern MN!

So far in November I’ve been working on Straight River and doing Big Brother activities with Ethan. The highlight this month was an event that BBBS organized last year for the first time and found to be a big success.

 Mad City Money Reality Fair

Sort of a cross between the board games Life and Monopoly, and a role-playing game. The evening was hosted by BBBS and a local financial institution, Hometown Credit Union.

The kids are given adult identities, spouses and/or children, jobs, and incomes. Then they have to decide how to spend/save that income by making purchasing decisions about food, clothing, shelter, day care, recreation, housing, transportation, etc., just like real life. After they’ve made their spending decisions, they reconcile those with their income to see if they are over or under budget. Tough choices must then be made, just like in real life.

Ethan at Mad City Money negotiating with the “car dealer” to buy his brand new Lamborghini.

It was interesting to see how some kids wanted the best and fanciest of everything, some wanted to donate a lot to charity, and others spoiled themselves at the expense of their spouses. None seemed too happy about being stuck with a child or two who put a severe dent in their budget with daycare, clothing, food, and entertainment.

The volunteer merchants played a variety of sales roles: high pressure, low pressure, guiding the kids to prudent decisions or not, just like in real life.

My Little Brother, Ethan, gave the game an excellent rating afterward, although he didn’t get to finish adjusting his budget to his income. He was a bit shocked, however, to find out that the costs for owning and operating his brand new Lamborghini were more than half his monthly income and about a third of the combined income of he and his wife.

He also received a lesson in reading the fine print when he failed to notice that the cost of a vacation to the Black Hills was shown per person, and he forgot that he’d have to pay for his wife and daughter to go with him.

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Ethan and I had fun spending his make-believe money.

Nevertheless, the pizza and cookies were tasty, the kids all had a good time, and I think most learned a bit about how to manage money, which is an excellent lesson for any child, especially Littles. Learning experiences like the Mad City Money Reality Fair are a great example of how your donations to BBBS, through the purchase of my book, Castle Danger, are put to use helping kids who can benefit from having an adult mentor in their lives. Thanks!

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