Spinning the wheel of life


Kiwanis’ version of ‘Game of Life’ returns to Siuslaw, Mapleton

June 8, 2022 — The Kiwanis Club of Florence provided a “reality check” to area middle schoolers on June 6 and 8. First attending in Siuslaw and then again in Mapleton, Kiwanians provided a real-life version of the Game of Life to students, who learned how they might navigate life in their potential professions.

To begin the game — much more of a lesson in finance and future planning — students selected a career and calculated their monthly income. They also got to roll dice to see if they were married and if they had children. 

On Monday, former bank president Lonnie Iholts instructed 15 Mapleton middle schoolers about keeping a balanced checking account. The students then calculated their tax deductions before heading to the vehicle stations, where they learned how much a new vehicle costs vs. used, how much to expect in repairs, and how a clean driving record can lower insurance rates. 

Following this, students learned about savings accounts. Then they headed into the housing market. There, they learned about housing costs, the benefits of renting vs. buying, additional insurance and mortgage payments. The Mapleton experience was much different than the crowd filling Siuslaw Middle School’s gym the previous Friday for their Game of Life event.

Volunteers came from all over to attend the event. While many were Kiwanians, local community members Tony Phillips, Aric Sneddon and more filled in to talk about auto repairs and real estate.

Oregon Coast Humane Society was also at each game to talk about the cost of having pets. Executive Director Elizabeth Thompson was joined both days by youth volunteer Charley, who is a member of the Kiwanis Builders Club at SMS.

CROW (Children’s Repertory of Oregon Workshops) attended the Siuslaw event, alerting the players of the cost of entertainment.

Also attending on Friday was the Florence Police Department School Resource Officer Hailey Coons, who provided a pedal car and “drunk goggles” for students to learn the dangers of impaired driving.

Other costs students had to consider was medical and dental care, clothing expenses and food — which they learned in relation to the Florence and Mapleton food shares.

Then came the fun part. Well, it could have been fun. 

Students were invited to spin the wheel and take the consequence. From needing to recalculate their insurance costs to needing to recover a lost pet, students learned about the things in life they couldn’t really prepare for.

At the end of the game, students with higher projected incomes felt pretty good, while others needed to rethink that new car or the high-priced home.

“That’s why we call it a reality check,” said organizer Jean Murphey.