KONE’s Global Youth Camp

Every year, KONE invites employees’ children to apply for a fun summer experience in southern Finland. This year the camp, organized for the 39th time, took place July 28 – August 6.

The experience includes a homestay with a Finnish family in the Helsinki-Hyvinkää area and camping by a lake with excellent recreational facilities. Around 120 teenagers from over 30 different countries travel to Finland to gain this unique experience year after year.

This year the son of our own Charles Banks participated in KONE’s Global Youth Camp.  We caught up with his son, Calvin, to ask him a few questions about his trip.

Q: Why did you choose to participate in KONE’s Global Youth Camp?

A: (Calvin Banks): It seemed like a great opportunity. I got to travel across the ocean, and meet teens from all different backgrounds. 

Q: What was the most interesting part of your trip?

A: All the culture, language, and differences from America. I had a great time with my host family. Plus, we got to sauna every day. I liked to travel around the area and play a game of “spot the differences” with myself. 

All of the signs were in Finnish and the metric system, and since we did a lot of walking rather than driving, I liked to translate the signs to English.

Q: Do you have any advice for future participants of this program?

A: Make as many friends that aren’t from the U.S. as possible and stay in touch. It’s great to have connections if you ever have the opportunity to travel abroad again. Plus it could open-up opportunities that you never knew were there. Make sure to pack the right clothing and remember that you’re representing KONE America.

Q: Did you learn any Finnish for his trip?

A: I learned how to say hello and thank you. Plus I had some Finns teach me to count to ten. Everyone spoke English (some worse than others), so it was cool to hear most of them switch from English to their native language. 

Many thanks to Charlie and Calvin for sharing this experience with us!

Bix Beiderbecke and the Bix 7

This weekend here in the Quad Cities, on the shores of the Mississippi River, we have a large multifaceted event celebrating local native Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke. Bix, a jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer, was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920’s.

For the curious, here’s some of his music:

One of the major events celebrating Bix and his legacy is called the Bix 7, a seven-mile marathon that many of the KONE Spares team and family members have participated in over the years. Founded by John Hudetz from Bettendorf (one of the four “quad cities”), he was a marathon runner who wanted to bring some of the excitement from the Boston Marathon to us here on the banks of the Mississippi. It started in 1975 with a total of 84 runners, but now the number of participants run in the tens-of-thousands.

For anyone who likes to run marathons, or who love classic jazz music, this is the event for you. If you can’t make it this weekend, put it in your calendar for next year.

Angie Shares Her Experience with Junior Achievement

I am so excited to share my experience with Junior Achievement of the Quad Cities. This is my third time participating in the program and each time I have this opportunity, my appreciation for the Junior Achievement program grows. Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping students gain the knowledge and skill to make sound financial decisions. This program is available for grades K-12 and helps aid our youth with work readiness and opens their mind to new potential for jobs that they could do within our community. I was fortunate enough to represent KONE Spares and spend 6 weeks in Mrs. Still’s first-grade classroom at Ridgewood Elementary in East Moline.

Our focus this year with my class was “Our Families”. We discussed similarities and differences within the families, categorized wants and needs, and described the roles that their family members played. We took time to discuss what being an entrepreneur was and how this impacted our community. The class also identified goods and services from our favorite local businesses and how those businesses fulfill our wants and needs. My most favorite part of this session was helping them create their very own birthday cake business. This allowed the kids to partner with each other, think as entrepreneurs, and apply the skills they had learned during our session to satisfy a need in their community. They really embraced it and were excited to share their business names, selling price of their goods, and what their specialty was going to be for their business.

Although the students were sad to see me go, I told them that I was excited to come back next school year and continue to help them learn. I encourage anyone else that would be interested in volunteering for Junior Achievement to reach out to myself or to visit their website at www.ja.org.

Angie Boynton, Sales Representative
KONE Spares