Kids become hotel employees for a day

Kids become hotel employees for a day

by Sean Scallon

Deb Bell's third grade class at Tiffany Creek Elementary School in Boyceville, Wis., became hotel employees for a day at the Red Roof Inn hotel in Woodbury, Minn., last May.

When they arrived at the Red Roof Inn, five stations had been set up by Lisa Lybert, general manager of the hotel. These were housekeeping, laundry, front desk and management. Every aspect of the motel was explored by the students in a general tour of the facilities. Then the students went to work.

"We had them teamed up with our regular employees," Lybert said. "They learned how to use fax machines, set a payroll by using a computer, how to clean a hotel room, do laundry, etc. We also showed them videos on our marketing strategies and a history of Red Roof Inns."

Lybert said the students seemed very impressed with inner workings of a nationwide hotel chain and she hoped that it will spark interest in some of them to think about careers in the hotel business.

"They enjoyed themselves very much," Lybert said. "When they came here, we handed out pairs of rubber gloves for them to use while they were at the house-cleaning station and they wanted to take them home with them. I heard from Mrs. Bell that many of the students expressed interest in getting into the hotel business when they got older."

The trip was a part of Red Roof Inn of Woodbury's "adoption" of the third grade class of Tiffany Creek. The idea for the hotel to "adopt" the class came from both Bell and Lybert together.

"I grew up in the Menomonie area and I went to UW-Stout with Mrs. Bell," Lybert said. "I've been in the hotel business for the past five years and I've always wanted to give something back to the community. I knew Mrs. Bell was a grade school teacher and we both felt that a program like this would have its benefits. It would get our employees working with kids and it would show the students all the many opportunities there are in the hotel field when they grow up."

Bell's goal is that every classroom at Tiffany Creek can be adopted by a business.

"The kids will get many valuable experiences from being employees for a day at a particular business," Bell said. "It teaches them how a business is run and opens doors to all sorts of possibilities for careers they can shoot for as they grow older. I'm hoping to convince many other employers in the area to do the same with other classrooms so they can have the kind of day we had at the Red Roof Inn."

Lybert graduated with a B.S. degree in general business administration in 1991. Bell received degrees in early childhood/elementary education in 1983 and professional development in 1991. As alumni, they felt it was a perfect partnership in education that they are hoping to continue annually.

Outlook Winter '96