Young people from all around Coweta County, with the help of Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation, are gearing up once again for a big day at the races.


Under the guidance of company representatives, young people from the Newnan Coweta Boys and Girls Club have been going through a series of workshops, billed as the Yamaha Downhill Dreams Academy, as they design, build and test soap box vehicles for the Coweta Grand Prix scheduled for April 20. This is the second year Yamaha has created the Academy, where youth can build and race their dreams. The program expanded this year to include a number of community business partners to serve as mentors and fabricators for each Academy participant’s racing team.

The final phase of preparation for the Yamaha Downhill Dreams Academy was April 15, which was testing day. This was the day when racers got to practice driving the vehicle that they designed and helped to assemble. Other workshops in the Academy included a design session, where students drew out concept designs for their vehicle, and an assembly session, where participants put on some of the finishing touches, such as paint, decals, and wheels on the vehicle.

This program is a fun-filled way of engaging at-risk students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities and perhaps even getting them to think about possible careers in such fields.

“Being involved in something like this is invaluable for a young person who might not otherwise have the opportunity,” said Bob Brown, Vice President of Manufacturing at Yamaha. “Real-world applications of STEM principles in such an exciting setting can make quite an impression at this age.”

Reactions from several young participants support Brown’s assertion. Interestingly, the majority of those who took part in the design and build for this year’s event have been girls.

“Seeing Hello Kitty on my cart was my favorite part so far,” said one young participant during the assembly workshop.

Hunter Webb, a participant in last year’s Academy said, “It was like Engineering 101. So I’m planning on going into engineering!”

In addition to Yamaha, corporate teams including Golf Rider and Veritiv have been engaged in the process this year, helping the young people design and build their vehicles.

The Coweta Grand Prix is scheduled for 11am on LaGrange Street, on a track approximately 600 feet long from the Carnegie Library to City Hall.

Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Company (YMMC) employs more than 2,200 metro Atlanta residents to design and build recreational vehicles at its Newnan manufacturing facilities. All of the world’s Yamaha golf cars, WaveRunners and Side-by-Sides, as well as most of its ATVs are manufactured at the plant in Coweta County, Georgia.

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