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 There’s a whole new concept flying around that will undoubtedly turn a few heads. The idea is to build an entire village for tourists to enjoy that will also be a hands-on reality school, for people who want to learn how to survive successfully in the world by actually getting their hands dirty. Ground has already been broken on what is probably the biggest idea this area has ever seen.

  There’s a whole new concept flying around that will undoubtedly turn a few heads. The idea is to build an entire village for tourists to enjoy that will also be a hands-on reality school, for people who want to learn how to survive successfully in the world by actually getting their hands dirty. Ground has already been broken on what is probably the biggest idea this area has ever seen.
A Tourist Destination

  The proposed plan is an old-world village on 160 acres just 35 miles from Sandpoint in Heron, Montana. We’re talking banks, churches, and markets for shopping, gift stores, a livery stable and blacksmith shop, even restaurants, hotels and a city hall.

  There will be cobblestone streets with lamp posts on each corner and cottages that could be likened to a Thomas Kincaid painting.

  Three sample buildings have already been erected, a barn you have to see to believe, a large cafeteria and a greenhouse. The barn resembles a gorgeous old-fashioned inn complete with a turret at the top. An elaborate covered walkway with spires at each level connects the barn to the cafeteria.

  The attention to detail is unsurpassed, right down, or should I say up, to the fantastical dragon weather vane perched at the top. The cafeteria boasts open-air eating with a kitchen in one corner and tables throughout.

  The greenhouse has the look of the architectural domes of Russia. Round and peaked roofs meld together beautifully. It will have little shops inside where people can purchase plants and gifts.

  The unique architectural design was implemented by North West Properties, who designed the entire village with buildings that will make anyone stop to get a better look.

  “The city survives because the tourists come and they come because of the interactive activities available, the architecture and because the whole program is unique,” said Ken Hensel, Marketing Director for Reality School.

The proposed plan is an old-world village on 160 acres just 35 miles from Sandpoint in Heron, Montana. We’re talking banks, churches, and markets for shopping, gift stores, a livery stable and blacksmith shop, even restaurants, hotels and a city hall.
Second story in The Barn

  Families will be able come and stay in one of the cottages or in the luxury hotel. They’ll walk the cobblestone streets and shop in the markets and gift shops.

  Many of the things tourists will be able to purchase are hand-made by the current residents of the village, furniture, quilts, pottery, etc. The produce will be locally grown. Restaurants will make their wares from scratch. It’ll be a step back in time.

  “Tourists won’t come to this vacation spot to laze around,” said Hensel. “They can learn anything that’s going on in the village. They’ll be able to look online and see what classes are being offered at what times. They’ll learn to make baskets or forge steel.”

  So if Dad has always wanted to learn to tie flies, he’ll take the class, while Mom heads over to the pottery shop to whip out a bowl. The kids might be learning about firefighters or helping out at the livery stable.

  “We’d like to have a whole section of the village where each house is sponsored by a different country,” said Hensel.

So a tourist family could stay in an authentic Scottish home, eat food and listen to music from the Highlands. There will be informational movies about that country available to them. The next day they can move to an Italian home and learn that culture.  So a tourist family could stay in an authentic Scottish home, eat food and listen to music from the Highlands. There will be informational movies about that country available to them. The next day they can move to an Italian home and learn that culture.

  “We’re hoping to develop an exchange program to allow someone from each country to come and teach their local culture and customs,” Hensel adds.

The Reality School

  The other side of this coin is a reality school. Students who want a hands-on learning experience will be trained to be good employees, good employers and productive citizens. By the time they graduate, most students will be qualified to run their own business.

  “Reality School is about teaching life skills,” said Hensel. “To do that, you have to put students in a real situation--you can’t do it entirely from a text book. You have to be involved, and one of the only ways you can do it, is in a controlled atmosphere that mimics real-life.”

  Students ages 18 and up will work side-by-side with real craftsmen- business/professional and retired individuals who have lived the life successfully.

The other side of this coin is a reality school. Students who want a hands-on learning experience will be trained to be good employees, good employers and productive citizens. By the time they graduate, most students will be qualified to run their own business.

  “The students will come here and buy a cottage instead of moving into a dorm. They’ll have to get a job in the town for 50 percent of the time, and run their own business 50 percent of the time,” said Hensel. “So they can see what it’s like on both sides. When they graduate, instead of throwing their hats in the air, hollering and screaming, then wondering what they’re going to do, they’ll be ready to take their business into the real world and operate it.”

  Students are also taught somethingThere won’t be much time spent in classrooms. The students will learn by doing. They learn the process of purchasing a home, serving on jury duty, becoming an employee at any one of the businesses to learn banking, construction work, handling money as a cashier, or ordering supplies. They can also purchase any business from another student who’s ready to move on and try something new. In doing so, they learn the paperwork involved in making an offer, title searches, interest and taking out a loan from the town bank. everyone should know before they graduate from high school. The importance of a good credit rating.

  “It will all be based on credit scores, just like real-life. If you have a bad credit score, you’ll never get a job in a bank. People need to learn to be accountable and just like in life, if you have a good credit score, more opportunities will be open to you,” says Hensel. “If someone has a bad credit score, they can get a job in the village, pay their house, power and water bills on time, and work to get their credit score up.”

  There won’t be much time spent in classrooms. The students will learn by doing. They learn the process of purchasing a home, serving on jury duty, becoming an employee at any one of the businesses to learn banking, construction work, handling money as a cashier, or ordering supplies. They can also purchase any business from another student who’s ready to move on and try something new. In doing so, they learn the paperwork involved in making an offer, title searches, interest and taking out a loan from the town bank.

  “Counselors will monitor how students are running their business. Are they making money or losing it?” said Hensel.

  In selling their property or business, they’ll learn to have their taxes, and profit and loss statements ready to show the seller. They’ll deal with the town realtor and find out about commissions and learn about closing the deal.

  “Each student will take a turn in police and fire departments, serve jury duty and play exact rolls in city hall,” said Hensel. “That way they really know what’s going on when they’re voting. They’ll understand trials, pros and court reporters. When they leave here they’ll know all this stuff because they’ve actually done it.”

   
The InstructorsThe teachers will be retired, or not yet retired people from all walks of life, policemen, housewives, doctors,

  The teachers will be retired, or not yet retired people from all walks of life, policemen, housewives, doctors, bankers, or construction workers who want to teach others what they’ve learned.

  “This will be a place for mature people to come and feel valuable, because they are. It’s a place where the instructors believe service is a gift and that by sharing their knowledge, they can help shape tomorrows leaders. Many have so much wisdom to give and this is the place they can use their talents,” said Hensel.

  It could be a chef or former restaurant owner who will teach not only how to cook, but how to plan for a big crowd, order the proper ingredients, deal with suppliers, keep the books, run the cash register, clean up at night, and deal with customers. Working a stint at one of the restaurants in the village will teach you everything you need to know about real cooking--before mac & cheese came in a 4x7 box.

  The goal of Reality School is to give people the life skills to realize their dreams. The people who graduate from this program will know how to buy a home. They’ll be a valuable asset to any business or even run their own business.

  “If a student buys a bakery and it’s worth $30,000 when he buys it,” says Hensel, “but over several years he’s made that business worth $50,000, he’s going to realize that profit and have $20,000 cash that he can use to start his business when he graduates.”

  But not everyone is cut out to, or wants to run a business.

  “The goal of Reality School is to create knowledgeable business owners and qualified employees. That’s why the students have to work, because if you’ve never worked, you won’t make a good boss.”

  “Right now it’s an idea. We’re shooting for 900 residences and 300 hotel/student units if we can get the funding and people are interested,” said Hensel. “Reality school gives students who want to gain the confidence, and experience necessary to become self-sufficient the know-how.”

  For more information on the project call 406-847-6677 or go to www.realityschool.org Building Designs by NW Properties 253-350-3874, and building construction by K2 Construction 406-847-4444.

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