The TREE House Junior Engineers Program is a program designed for those who have a love for trains. It is a chance for children and parents to learn a great deal about building model trains from volunteers who are train enthusiasts themselves.
The purpose of the Junior Engineers class is to teach children how to build a model train layout. The Junior Engineers class is comprised of 6-8 children who are between the ages of 7 and 12. The class is held for six weeks, with a 2 hour session each Saturday. The program has been accomplished in a one week time frame as a summer
camp as well. The process of teaching the basics of building a model train layout is thoroughly covered by the teachers of this class, the group of TREE House train crew volunteers. Beginning with only a piece of 4X6 plywood, the children are taught each phase of construction. They begin by painting the wood, and proceed to learn each step of designing and building the landscaping, laying out tracks and choosing trains and buildings for the layout. In the process of creating, they also learn to use tools necessary for building the layout such as cordless drills and soldering irons (with supervision of course).
Additional lessons include historical topics such as The Transcontinental Railroad, The Great Locomotive Chase and Orphan Trains. Each child is accompanied by a parent for the duration of each class, and so it provides a learning experience for parents as well. As a result of this, it is a wonderful opportunity for bonding between the parent and child, as they learn the fundamentals of a new hobby together.
Upon completion of the class, there is a graduation in which the participants have a graduation ceremony together and are presented with certificates and their very own signature yellow TREE House engineer shirts. The yellow Rockwell Railroad shirts are the signature shirts of our volunteer staff. After the kids receive their own shirts like this, they have the privilege of operating our permanent exhibit in the museum anytime they return wearing their yellow shirt. Only Jr. Engineer graduates are allowed this privilege. The model train layout that is created is then sold and the proceeds go towards funding the next class of Junior Engineers.
We are very proud of this program, the volunteers who have organized it and its sponsors: Roy O. Martin Foundation, Union Pacific Railroad and Hare’s Hobby Shop. We are getting more of a response for participation in this program as the community becomes more aware of what we can offer here at the TREE House. We welcome all who are interested to sign up to be a part of the next Junior Engineers program!