The Bank of Tioga employee speaks to students

Hands-on financial literacy camp prepares high school students for real-world scenarios

March 8, 2023

Nearly 140 ninth grade-students from six high schools including Tioga, Ray, Grenora, Divide County, Burke Central and Powers Lake attended Real World Camp, a one-of-a-kind hands-on educational camp in conjunction with the North Dakota JumpStart Coalition, The Bank of Tioga, The Bank of North Dakota, City of Tioga and Northwest Education Cooperative. 

This was the first year for Tioga to host the in-person camp which offered a chance to meet with area professionals in the simulated “city” to fill out their budget, learn from real-life scenarios and contemplate future career choices. From cable bills, grocery stores, banks, rental agents, car dealerships and more, the Real World Camp offers everyday interactions to increase experiential learning.

Eighteen area businesses volunteered for the city portion of the day. Additionally, Cashwise Food donated all the water for the event.

Area students are getting a hands-on example of money management and real-life scenarios. With this knowledge, they have a leg up on many decisions they will face in a few years. Students also have the opportunity to interact with area professionals, business owners, as well as their peers.

“I love this event because it introduces students into adult financial decisions in a fun atmosphere. The kids get to visit with and learn from area professionals,” said Joy Sparks, financial literacy coordinator for The Bank of Tioga.


Childcare costs and municipal monthly bills were the biggest shock to students this year and created a lively discussion. Weighing the pros and cons and how to navigate adulthood is a key component of the event’s curriculum.

The morning delved into five learning sessions including the topic of jobs, insurance, wants and needs, budgeting, credit and loans. Presenters included Paula Lankford with North Dakota Job Service, Brad Johnson Insurance Agency, Lance Hill with Bank of North Dakota, Katelyn Jespersen with NDSU Extension and Tyler Hess with Williston State College. The afternoon incorporated budgeting and life scenarios with business area volunteers in the city-like atmosphere.

Students are learning about things everyone faces and this outside classroom experience fosters these scenarios. Though these decisions are down the road, it enlightens students to how choices affects their future and how to best prepare.

North Dakota has camps in Bismarck, Minot, Fargo, Jamestown, and Grand Forks. Contact Joy Sparks at to learn more or have your school or business involved next year.

At The Bank of Tioga, we IGNITE PROSPERITY® by helping our clients do more with their money. Whether it’s saving a little extra cash each month or accomplishing a long-term strategy, our goal is to help you transform your financial life. Call and schedule an appointment today, one of our team members would love to help you do more with your money at The Bank of Tioga. The Bank of Tioga has two locations in North Dakota. For more information visit or call 701-664-338 for Tioga or 701-965-6333 for Crosby.