Creating A Space for Kids to Discover And Parents to Engage in Meaningful Conversations

Meet Jill Katzenberger, Executive Director, Junkyard Social Club, a new community space dedicated to creating memorable experiences through junk art, adventure play, and good food and drink. 

Jill Katzenberger is currently building a space that can act as a discovery zone for the kids aged 6 years or younger to help learn through play and discover the world of science. She came up with the idea during the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where she taught and developed programs and exhibits. Leaving the museum after 15 years, an exhibit she worked on stuck with her, which she decided to bring to life with Junkyard Social Club. 

It is a space for both kids and adults. Their instructors, aka “provocateurs of play” help kids play, explore and discover through their learning materials. This allows them to fail, learn from their failures, and try again. They organize classes, workshops, events, and summer camp, which they are offering currently, for the overall development of the kids. As for the parents and adults, they have set up a coffee shop to drink, chat, and connect wier anything and everything. It gives them time to have meaningful conversations while the kids are busy playing. Parents can also engage with kids and become a part of their learning experience. 

A resident of Colorado, Jill has also worked as an 8th-grade science teacher. Her goal is to give the kids the skills, tools, and confidence to create a world they want to live in. And she is trying to provide them with this opportunity through The Junkyard Social Club. The Club is a part of another organization called “The Hopper” that has currently taken a back seat due to the pandemic. They are working to create mind-blowing experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) for the whole family. The space is a non-profit that can provide both community and enriching programming. They want families to come back and feel a sense of ownership as it grows. The nonprofit is working with a very small team of artists, instructors, and volunteers. The club is actually like a museum with admission for the kids. As they are a non-profit, the fee for the kids is as low as $10, and it’s completely free of cost for the adults, which is exactly the opposite of what happens in traditional museums. They have membership programs that reduce the cost, as well as scholarship rates, to make it accessible to everyone. They intend to start free-for-all hours so that families can just come in and have a rejuvenating time together. 

Jill is a mother to a 4 and an 8-year-old and is figuring out the balance between work and family. She works 9-5 on the weekdays and also has to attend workshops and events happening on the weekends. When the club opens to the public, she is also planning to take the kids to work so that they can play and learn while she and her team build things. 

The Junkyard Social Club is still a work in progress, but the concept behind it is quite promising. Parenting is not an easy task, but when initiatives like Jill’s come forward to extend a helping hand, it can become a fun learning experience for both parents and children. It is not only giving wings to the creativity of the kids but also giving parents time to take a much-needed breather. As The Junkyard Club gears up to open its doors to the public this fall, the team is working hard to create an unforgettable experience for the whole family in one place.