Boys and Girls Club members with Jayco mascot J. Jay

Thor Industries Inc. and its subsidiary Jayco Inc. Tuesday (July 10) hosted the second of four “RV Days” events at the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart County clubhouse in Middlebury, Ind.

The event provided over 100 youths ranging from elementary to middle school age insight into Elkhart County’s largest industry cluster. The programs were designed to provide an introduction to RVs while also acting as an outreach to the industry as a potential future career opportunity for the older participants.

Doug Moats, communications and public relations officer for Jayco, explained how the four-part program evolved. “We teamed up with Thor, our parent company, because we thought it was important we get out and do some community involvement with kids and RVs,” said Moats. “This was an opportunity for not only the kids of Middlebury, but the kids that go to this Boys and Girls Club, to actually get inside a unit and experience RVs first hand.” 

He said the youth outreach started in June with Thor subsidiary Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC visiting the Elkhart Boys and Girls Club. Keystone RV Co. will hold its event July 18 at the Goshen facility with Thor Motor Coach following at the Nappanee club on July 24.

Rick Schutt, Thor’s director of community engagement, provided his company’s perspective on the program.

Club members were able to build an RV out of Legos

“It’s all about presenting the RV lifestyle, increasing the awareness of the RV industry, and letting these kids experience RVs first hand,” he said. “Some of them have never been in an RV before. We make it fun for them. They are going to do Lego builds of RVs today. There’s a birthday celebration with cake for the 50th anniversary of Jayco. They are going to have arts and crafts. There is a little photo booth inside to take pictures. And J. Jay the Jayco mascot is here. It’s a really fun afternoon for the kids — really increasing the awareness of what we do and who we are.”

Schutt said that Thor supports the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart County on a regular basis each year as well as donating to the building fund of the facility. This includes organizing company charity fundraising events such as auctions and golf tournaments with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club

He noted that the “RV Days” program is meant to provide the children with an understanding that a job in the RV industry extends beyond the production floor. 

“A lot of the times the kids don’t always know that there’s a marketing job, there’s a sales job, there’s social media job,” said Schutt. “I was joking with the kids today and said, ‘Who here has Instagram?’ which made them aware of social media jobs. There are jobs for purchasing, accounting, lawyers — we have all these fields within our industry and the kids don’t really know that.”