The Reality Experience 2011 will take place on Monday, Oct. 10 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.
The event is sponsored by the Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs, as well as Kappa Delta Phi and Delta Theta Tau sororities, along with many other organizations and volunteers.
The program will feature several hands-on activities for all Putnam County eighth-graders, as well as those from Eminence. The event, however, is not open to the general public.
It is the goal of the program to give the students a taste of what real life is about through activities such as paying bills and taxes, buying a car and budgeting money for food and clothing.
"The benefit is the word 'reality.' These eight-graders finally get a taste of what life is really about," event coordinator Jim Maxwell. explained "Everything in life has a price."
Prior to the event, students will work with their teachers and counselors on career planning and how to maintain a checkbook register. They plan for what they envision their future to be like such as choosing their occupation, for which they are given an annual gross salary.
"Each of these schools will spend upwards to an hour to an hour and a half having their kids go through the booths," Maxwell said. "We try to make it fun and at the same time give them a taste of reality."
A series of booths will be set up at the fairgrounds community building. These booths will be staffed with hundreds of volunteers from local organizations and businesses such as State Farm, the Putnam County Hospital and York Automotive.
"The volunteers that work this just enjoy themselves," explained Maxwell. "The majority of the kids are just having fun and getting themselves enlightened to what life can be like."
Students will be able to choose such things as buying or renting a home, whether or not to buy life and health insurance, buying a car and paying for the insurance, budgeting for food and clothing, as well as a variety of things that go along with growing up and being on your own.
The Wheel of Chance provides either a pleasant or unpleasant surprise. They may receive things like bonuses at work or be forced to pay unexpected medical expenses or suffer from a loss such as a fire or home burglary.
They will also learn the importance of being registered to vote, how to vote and actually vote on a designated issue or current election. Students will also learn about different community organizations and choose one or more to work with on a voluntary basis. If they have extra money they are also able to take an exotic vacation.
The experience ends with a trip to the Snack Shop where the students will get to enjoy food and drinks that were donated by local businesses.